British Steel today welcomed the announcement its Scunthorpe headquarters has been named on a new shortlist of 18 potential sites for a Heathrow Logistics Hub.
As Heathrow builds its third runway, the airport is looking to open 4 of the hubs across the UK to spread the economic benefits of the expansion.
Last year Heathrow visited 65 sites bidding to host one of the facilities and, after a strict vetting process, it today revealed the locations of those remaining in contention.
British Steel and the 17 other contenders will now be invited to formally submit tenders to host the hubs, which will be used to pre-assemble and consolidate components before transporting them to Heathrow.
Gerald Reichmann, British Steel’s Chief Financial Officer and Deputy CEO, said: “The creation of a Heathrow logistics hub at our Scunthorpe site would help drive economic regeneration throughout Yorkshire and the Humber so we’re delighted with this news.
“Along with the first-class location, logistics and services we can bring, one of our key strengths is the calibre of our partners and we look forward to working with them to help our region benefit from the incredible opportunity Heathrow expansion brings.”
The new hubs will maximise the opportunities for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to become key partners in delivering Heathrow’s new runway. Throughout this region more than 12,000 people are already employed in British Steel’s supply chain and this figure could rise significantly with a successful bid.
Heathrow spends over £1.5 billion annually with over 1,200 suppliers from across the UK – with expansion there’s an opportunity for their roles to grow and for new innovative suppliers to be identified.
Gerald said: “I’d like to thank our partners for their ongoing support. Together we can have a huge impact on this region’s future prosperity.”
Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion, said: “Our expansion plans are progressing apace and continue to be refined thanks to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. Heathrow is as committed as ever to creating a plan that delivers for every corner of the UK. Logistics hubs are key to achieving that. This innovative approach will be more cost effective, efficient and sustainable, helping to unlock much needed capacity quickly and responsibly.
“Logistics hubs are also integral to harnessing the skills the UK needs post-Brexit. We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector. One in which we’re better utilising new technology and offsite techniques to spread the benefits of major projects like expansion nationwide.”
The 4 locations chosen to host hubs are scheduled to be announced in early 2020, ahead of work starting in 2021, and the news has also been welcomed by a number of British Steel’s supporters.
Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin: “The benefits of a Heathrow Logistics Hub in Scunthorpe would be felt across the whole region and I wholeheartedly believe this area can not only deliver a first-class location but the exemplary levels of skills and service Heathrow requires.”
UK Steel Director General Gareth Stace: “As one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects, the Heathrow expansion is a hugely important prospective for steel producers. British Steel has the ability to play a significant role, both as a supplier and logistics hub host. Heathrow’s commitment to follow the public guidelines on steel procurement, maximising opportunities for UK steel companies, is to be applauded. We encourage all private infrastructure projects to copy this example.”
Simon Green, North Lincolnshire Council Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Commercial: “This is excellent news for both British Steel and North Lincolnshire, a fine example of public and private sector working together.”
Humber LEP Chief Executive Kishor Tailor: “This represents a unique opportunity for businesses in the Humber to benefit from one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects.”
Regional Director of ABP Humber Simon Bird: “This region benefits from superb logistics, none more so than from the Humber ports. The direct rail link between our Immingham operations and British Steel in Scunthorpe would provide a first-class route from ports around the world into the hub and the rest of the UK.”
Mick Lochran, Principal of North Lindsey College which is opening a new University Campus for North Lincolnshire: “The number of highly-skilled people in this area continues to grow at pace and as the largest provider of post-16 education and training in North Lincolnshire, we’re committed to supporting British Steel’s bid and ensuring this region’s economy and people flourish.”
The University of Hull Logistics Institute’s Professor Amar Ramudhin: “The Humber region boasts excellent road, rail and port facilities which would provide the Logistics Hub with unrivalled connectivity.”