Major Plymouth Freeport investment will improve Millbay Docks and …
Associated British Ports (ABP) is embarking on a series of strategic infrastructure developments at Millbay to secure the long-term future of the ferry terminal, improve passenger experience, strengthen its freight capability as well as increase the port’s green credentials and grow the offer to the cruise market.
Dock owners ABP have already begun a programme of work to make improvements to the passenger experience at the ferry terminal, and thanks to a decision to allocate £1,300,000 of Freeport Seed Capital Funding into the Capital Programme, the Millbay terminal development now has stronger wind in its sails.
The next phase of work, which will include replacing the existing historic wharf with a stronger one, will support ABP to increase their freight capability, as well as through doubling the existing load capacity of the wharf.
The berth will be designed to meet the code of practice for loading thresholds for a ‘general cargo’ and ‘single-height container’ berth, allowing more cargo loading/unloading activities to take place and encourage new as well as existing customers to bring more freight through the port. With new businesses moving into the Freeport tax sites there will be an increased need for importing and exporting.
Council leader, Cllr Tudor Evans, said: “Millbay Docks is a crucial port gateway for the Freeport and it’s a real milestone to be signing this decision to spend the first wave of Freeport funding on one of the city’s most important assets. Only recently we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ABP and Brittany Ferries pledging to work together more and our growth journey is now well and truly underway.
“This seed funding will support our ambition to increase global trade. It is a massive boost to the local economy and will help kick-start improvements we have all wanted to see for a long time.”
The delegated decision report highlights the fact that better freight facilities will also improve the prospects of companies operating within the Freeport.
Businesses in the major growing global markets in marine, defence and space –target industries for the Freeport – need easy access to the sea for importing raw materials and components and exporting finished products. This requires investment in port infrastructure ahead of demand and without this seed funding investment key industries would not have the connectivity they need to invest in the Freeport.
Henrik Pedersen, chief executive of Associated British Ports (ABP) welcomed the announcement. She said: “ABP is delighted to welcome this significant investment in Millbay Docks through the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport Seed Funding.
"This marks an important milestone in a transformative journey for Millbay Docks, and with new, enhanced quay we will be able to not only enhance our ferry terminal, but also strengthen our freight capabilities, and expand our offering to the Plymouth cruise market.
“ABP is committed to ensuring this investment provides future-proofed facilities at the docks for years to come, and so central to our plans will be to ensure that the developments also support Plymouth City Council’s ambition to become net zero by 2030 and that the region enjoys a sustained era of clean, green and good growth.
“This investment is a testament to the position of Millbay as a vital gateway for the Freeport, and we look forward to making these developments a reality for the benefit of the community and the broader economy.”
Plymouth City Council is the accountable body for the Plymouth and South Devon Freeport and allocates the seed capital to support the delivery of the Freeport. As the accountable body, it is responsible for the programme management of the seed capital programme pipeline. This includes the technical appraisal of business cases for Seed Capital projects, governance including funding compliance, grants payments and overseeing reports to Government.