Associated British Ports (ABP) broke ground on the first phase of the ABP Solent Gateway development of the Port of Marchwood. Sir Julian Lewis, MP for New Forest East, officially started the construction of the 21-acre site development accompanied by representatives from Hampshire County Council, including Leader Cllr Rob Humby, New Forest District Council, the Solent Freeport, and UK Government departments.

The development, backed by £25 million of investment for this first phase, will improve landside and marine facilities to strengthen the Solent’s position as a leading gateway for trade as well as increasing the capacity of the port to support MOD operations.

The on-site development includes an ecological buffer on the port boundary to improve the visual impact for local residential areas and to encourage wildlife to the site. Pedestrian and cycle access routes to the port are also planned, linking the port to Marchwood village. With a new site entrance within the port boundary and improved vehicle management, there will be less congestion outside of the port. It will also deliver more than 60 acres of biodiversity habitat off-site.

Richard Parkinson, Director of Marchwood Port, said: “This multi-million-pound investment is absolutely key to realising the potential of the Port of Marchwood both as a thriving port and to support our armed forces. It adds much-needed additional port capacity to the Solent region. The development has gone through a rigorous Planning Approval process and is designed with significant features to benefit the local community and the environment.”

Alastair Welch, ABP’s Regional Director for its Solent activities said “The Solent is a leading gateway for the UK to connect with the world and the UK’s #1 port for deep sea trade. Developing this connectivity is key for the success of the UK economy as a whole and specifically the 115,000 jobs and £8bn of value ABP’s regional activities, including ABP Solent Gateway, supports.”

Sir Julian Lewis, MP for New Forest East, said: “After years of careful planning, today marks an exciting - indeed, groundbreaking - new stage in the evolution of ABP Solent Gateway at Marchwood Port. With its rich heritage as an embarkation point for D-Day, 80 years ago, and its unique current status as the UK Armed Forces’ sea mounting centre, Marchwood Port will benefit and thrive in both its military and commercial roles, as a result of this ambitious upgrading of its facilities. As part of the future Freeport, the modernised site will undoubtedly play a vital part in the complex mix of environmentally sensitive and economically valuable locations, here on the Waterside."

James Hassett, Chief Executive Officer of Solent Freeports, said: “The Solent Freeport was established three years ago, and this is the first site in its development phase, with more plans to come not only in the Waterside and Southampton but also in Portsmouth. The Solent is the UK’s leading gateway for deep sea global trade and the Solent Freeport offers investment to leverage the region’s future and level up our coastal communities.”

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Marchwood is one of the first sites within the Solent Freeport being developed. The Solent Freeport is a UK Government initiative to encourage investment within or close to a Port or Airport that generates new sustainable businesses to increase regional prosperity. It offers business tax and customs relief for funds to be put back into the Solent area for regeneration and to improve skills and employment opportunities.

Source: AB Ports


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