Vince Cable unveils Southampton Port expansion as exports set sail

Posted on 7 Jun 2012 by Chris Flynn

Business secretary Vince Cable unveiled a new multi-deck trade vehicle terminal at the port of Southampton today.

The new terminal will be the fourth of its kind at the port and comes as part of a major investment by Associated British Ports (ABP).

ABP is expanding its vehicle export facilities to accommodate the large amount of vehicles being shipped to overseas markets, particularly China, and announced today that it will invest a further £7.5m to construct a fifth terminal at the port.

Last year UK automotive exports were up 15% at an all time high of £29.5bn in cash terms. “The British car industry is a great success story and our increasing exports are proving a boon for the Port of Southampton,” said Vince Cable.

As part of the visit, Dr Cable met Doug Morrison, ABP Port Director Southampton and Chair of the local enterprise partnership (LEP), which was recently awarded £2.1m as part of the Regional Growth Fund.

The LEP, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and local newspaper The News, is using the funding for a project to run a competitive programme for their local area to award micro-finance and small business grants between £5,000 and £100,000 to create new business start-ups, and allow existing businesses to grow. It is hoped that this will create 120 jobs in the area.

As well as unveiling the terminal Vince Cable visited Griffon Hoverwork, a 40 year-old British company that design, manufacture and operate air cushioned vehicles including hovercrafts.

The company makes all its craft at the Southampton factory and has also enjoyed success in its exports. It recently worked with UK Trade and Investment to secure a contract to supply India’s Coast Guard service with 12 hovercraft worth approximately £34m.

“Griffon Hoverwork have also shown that British manufacturing has a big role to play in exporting to international markets, said Dr Cable.

The Daedalus SME marine and aviation grant scheme near Gosport has also been conditionally awarded £3m from the Regional Growth Fund which will help to create new and safeguard private sector jobs.

The scheme will support up to 20 businesses by targeting business growth and improvements for existing occupants of the business park and for companies wishing to expand onto the park.

Businesses have until June 13 to submit their bids for round three of the Regional Growth Fund.