Belfast Telegraph

Ports company to invest £50 million to support growth of UK exports

Britain's leading ports company is to invest £50 million to support the growth of UK exports.

The phased investment will boost vehicle handling facilities at the Port of Southampton.

The south coast port is number one in the UK for handling vehicles, with more than 900,000 vehicles passing through in 2015, including around 520,000 for export. Nearly a third of these arrive for export on up to five daily trains.

The first £25 million tranche of the investment by Associated British Ports (ABP) will deliver two new vehicle handling facilities, capable of storing 7,600 vehicles en route from UK factories to global markets.

The second phase will see a further two facilities built. Ultimately, the investment will add a further 15,000 spaces to the port's capacity and take the total number of vehicle handling facilities in Southampton to nine, capable of carrying 55,000 vehicles.

ABP chief executive James Cooper said: "The port is a critical part of the supply chain for the British automotive industry, providing essential access to global markets.

"Our investment will build on this critical role and support our customers' drive to continue to grow their exports well into the future."

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox said: "This investment is positive news not just for Southampton, but for our world-class automotive industry as a whole. Southampton is a key route for British brands to access international markets and this investment will allow exporters to take advantage of the global demand for British-made vehicles.

"Last week, ONS statistics revealed UK car exports reached a record high in July and investments like this will help to strengthen exports in the sector and will be a further boost for confidence and optimism."

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