MPs to hear call for port improvements

LOBBYING for more investment to improve the Haven ports – including Felixstowe and Ipswich – and nearby area will take place at a meeting with MPs.The year-old Haven Gateway Partnership (HGP) is organising the meeting at the House of Commons to put its case for bigger benefits for the complex of ports in the Orwell and Stour estuaries.

By Richard Cornwell

LOBBYING for more investment to improve the Haven ports – including Felixstowe and Ipswich – and nearby area will take place at a meeting with MPs.

The year-old Haven Gateway Partnership (HGP) is organising the meeting at the House of Commons to put its case for bigger benefits for the complex of ports in the Orwell and Stour estuaries.

Harwich MP Ivan Henderson is hoping Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer will jointly host the meeting between partnership members and up to 30 MPs.


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Deputy prime minister John Prescott is also being invited to the meeting, set for October 22.

The partnership – which includes the leading players in the ports of Felixstowe, Harwich, Ipswich and Mistley, plus county and district council officials – wants to impress upon MPs the need for help to bring national and international investment to the area to fund major economic projects.

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Its key priorities are:

n Dualling the A120 from Harwich to Stansted.

n Upgrading of the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail freight route.

n Provision of a new link road between Ipswich port east bank and the A14.

It is also seeking funding to improve education and training, especially for people involved in the shipping sector.

The partnership has had a busy first 12 months concentrating on plans for the environment, tourism and commercial development of the Haven ports area.

HGP chairman George Courtauld said the aim was "to build on our strengths, overcome any weakness and grasp any opportunities".

He went on: "Our strengths are proximity to major markets, our deepwater capacity, our ability to undertake large-scale projects, and the experience and determination of the partners.

"Our weaknesses are basically infrastructure, both locally and in the hinterland, namely road congestion and rail connections and capacity, but also the presence of outside bureaucracy which could delay or restrict development.

"The opportunities are the increasing use of short sea shipping, which is supplanting air and overland deliveries, the increasing size of ships, and our abilities to meet these with the new facilities planned to accommodate additional deep sea traffic."

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