Port operator Associated British Ports is bringing forward more than 1,000 acres of development land to support the UK’s supply chain, manufacturing and renewable energy sectors.

ABP operates 21 ports around the UK and is making 14 strategic sites, encompassing a total of 1,075 acres, available for a range of business uses.

ABP chief executive Henrik Pedersen said: “Our ports – with their superb connectivity both domestic and internationally, together with established infrastructure – already play a key role in the UK manufacturing, supply chain and energy sectors. This initiative will enable a growing number of businesses to leverage our land, property partnering expertise and power capacity. We believe this can make a significant contribution to the country’s economic vibrancy and supply chain efficiency.”

A first tranche of 14 sites is being brought forward at ports including: Cardiff; Immingham; Newport; Port Talbot; Southampton; and Hull. Next year will see the release of further opportunities. All locations benefit from strong rail and road connectivity, plus renewable energy generation.

During the next 18 months, ABP has committed to spending more than £5m to make the sites ready for development, obtaining appropriate outline planning consents, technical understanding, and carrying out essential land preparation.

Bruce Robertson, head of supply chain and consumer at CBRE, which is advising ABP, said: “The country needs more distribution hubs adjacent to major conurbations with a good labour supply and which can connect into our road and rail networks. These ABP sites are superbly situated to do just that.

“The need for more warehouse space to fulfil online retailing – which is growing and was accelerated by the pandemic – plus ongoing labour shortages are putting unprecedented pressure on the UK’s supply chain.”

The UK currently has the third-highest e-commerce penetration ratio globally at 24%, with annual online spend approaching £100bn. The online spending ratio is forecast to rise to 32% by 2025. It is estimated that for every additional £1bn of online spend, around 1m sq ft of logistics space is needed to fulfil delivery.

The first 14 sites being released are:

  1. ABP Business Park, Cardiff (36 acres)
  2. Atlantic Side South Dock, Newport (73 acres)
  3. West Way, Newport (18 acres)
  4. Cliff Quay, Ipswich (11 acres)
  5. Grimsby Automotive Park (92 Acres)
  6. Harbourside, Port Talbot (85 acres)
  7. Hull International Enterprise Park (468 acres)
  8. Imm-Port, Immingham (51 acres)
  9. Queens Road, Immingham (9 acres)
  10. King George & Queen Elizabeth Dock, Hull (159 acres)
  11. Redbridge, Southampton (42 acres)
  12. Site L, Southampton (7 acres)
  13. High Level North Dock, Liverpool (6 acres)
  14. 1:40, Liverpool (11 acres)