With a population of 2.8 million, Greater Manchester is central to the Government-backed Northern Powerhouse, a plan to boost economic growth by investing in skills, transport & innovation in the North of England involving cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle.

The second largest economy in the UK outside of London and with a GVA (Gross Value Added) of £59.6billion, Manchester is pivotal in the country’s growth and prosperity. And with operating costs 40% lower than London, it’s easy to see why Manchester attracts investment.

No stranger to investment and innovation, Manchester’s history in the shipping and logistics industry is fascinating, with the famous Ship Canal, dubbed the North West’s Eiffel Tower thanks to its ingenious engineering, the only swing aqueduct in the world and the world’s first planned industrial estate.

Today, under the ownership of Peel Ports, the Manchester Ship Canal which links Liverpool and Manchester is thriving, handling around 8 million tonnes of cargo annually including containers, bulk liquids and dry bulk cargo. The Manchester Ship Canal is an attractive option for shippers as it allows cargo to move closer to the city, away from more congested Southern ports and busy motorway networks connecting North to South.

Despite its success, Peel Ports have big plans for future development of the Canal with 4,000,000 sq ft of port-centric warehousing and logistics facilities over the next 5-10 years. Already part of an innovative carbon efficient waterway, these new developments will add further environmental benefits for shippers trying to reduce their environmental impact.

Peel Ports’ development plans predict increased volumes of container traffic, which are increasing dramatically. Today, the Manchester Ship Canal handles over 25,000 TEU compared to just 3000 TEU in 2009 thanks to significant and continued investment. Naturally, as cargo volumes increase, local logistics companies will benefit, delivering a social return on investment.

Manchester also benefits from Inland Container Depots in Trafford Park which means high volumes of containers are moved to Manchester via rail to avoid road congestion.

Inevitably, all this growth means Manchester’s infrastructure requires attention too, and there are significant plans to revamp the transport links and infrastructure. Work is already well underway to improve the motorway network not only in Manchester but along the whole M62 corridor, and the implementation of the Metrolink provides fantastic connectivity within the M60 belt and beyond.

Another major factor in Manchester’s growth is Manchester Airport, the only major international gateway in the North and voted 2016’s Best UK Airport in the Globe Travel Awards. Manchester’s Airport Enterprise Zone has gained planning permission with the development of a £100 million World Logistics Hub. The venture is expected to create 1800 new jobs and allow existing airport businesses to expand and attract new international companies to the city.

The development will create over one million square feet of high-quality logistics space including a mix of medium- and small-sized units ranging from approximately 7,500 to 200,000 square feet. They will be designed and constructed to the highest possible environmental standards, suitable for the international marketplace and easily accessible to the growing local and national consumer and business markets.

The World Logistics Hub could also help boost future export opportunities arising from innovation such as Graphene, the world’s thinnest material, developed by the University of Manchester. Plans to revive Manchester’s textile trade with a re-born Cottonopolis (a term Manchester was affectionately known for in the 1900’s) could also see an increase in exports from the region.

Since its inception in 1833, John Good Shipping has established a strong presence across the North, and with offices in Manchester, Stockport, Liverpool, Bradford and Hull, we’re ideally placed to support our customers with all logistical requirements as the Northern Powerhouse takes shape.

Paul Ferguson, Sales Director, John Good Shipping