Ruth Mitchell

Business Secretary hails port growth in Southampton

The Business Secretary has unveiled a new multi-deck trade vehicle terminal at the Port of Southampton, designed to meet extra demand for exporting British-built cars overseas.

Associated British Ports have made the investment in the expansion of the vehicle export facilities to accommodate the large volume of vehicles being shipped to overseas markets, in particular China.

In 2011 UK automotive exports hit record levels of £29.5 billion in cash terms. A further £7.5 million investment to construct a fifth multideck trade vehicle terminal at the port has also been announced.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The British car industry is a great success story and our increasing exports are proving a boon for the Port of Southampton - the opening of a new vehicle terminal along with provisional funding from the Regional Growth Fund for the City of Southampton’s infrastructure will allow further growth for the future.”

The visit and announcement coincides with other investment by the Department’s flagship policy - the Regional Growth Fund. Southampton City Council received a conditional offer of £5.6m as part of the second round to support the development of the city’s surrounding road infrastructure.

As part of his visit to Southampton, Vince Cable will also visit Griffon Hoverwork Limited – a British owned 40 year old company and world leader in the design, manufacture and operation of Air Cushioned Vehicles (ACV) including hovercraft.

The company has 170 craft operating in more than 40 countries ranging from the humid jungles of South America and the dry heat of the Middle East to the High Arctic.

He continued: “There is still more to do but I am pleased to see that our work to support business and boost British manufacturing with schemes such as the Regional Growth Fund is helping local people unlock growth in their area and give a real boost to the economy.

“I should also remind businesses that they have until June 13 to submit their bids for round three of the Regional Growth Fund.”

As part of the visit the Secretary of State will also meet Doug Morrison, ABP Port Director Southampton and Chair of the local enterprise partnership (LEP). The LEP, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and local newspaper The News, was awarded £2.1m as part of the Regional Growth Fund.

The funding is for a project to run a competitive programme for their local area to award micro-finance and small business grants (£5k to £100k) to create new business start-ups, and allow existing businesses to grow. This will create some 120 jobs in the area.

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