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Humber businesses are planning to build on the success of a trade mission to one of the world’s biggest ports. 

Organised by Hull City Council and HumberPort (a collaboration of leading ports-based businesses), the delegation visited the Port of Rotterdam to develop short sea shipping trade and promote the Humber’s profile as the UK’s Energy Estuary.

Cultural links were also strengthened aligned to the recently launched Hull City Plan and City of Culture bid.

It was the first time the region had been promoted abroad under the Humber Port brand, and now further European and global events are being planned to raise awareness of the strengths of theHumber.

With feeder container traffic to the UK representing 11 per cent of Rotterdam’s trade, the mission aimed to build commercial and port relationships to divert more of this traffic to the Humber from theUK’s southern ports. The delegation also visited the new Rotterdam port development Maasvlakte 2, a large-scale land reclamation project which is creating a deep-water port facility over 22 square kilometres at the mouth of the River Maas.

Lord Christpher Haskins

Lord Haskins, chair of the Humber LEP, said: “The expansion of the Port of Rotterdam and potential offshore renewables business represents a huge opportunity for the Humber. Cargo into the Humber from Rotterdam fluctuates in volume and it is up to businesses and the public sector to work together to fight for growth between the two ports. It is vitally important that we promote the Humber collectively and ensure the right people are aware of what we have to offer.”

Paul McGrath of PD Ports Humber has reported growth in containers from Rotterdam at five per cent year on year. “The Humber’s biggest advantage is its geography and the variety of its port facilities meaning that we can cater for virtually any kind of cargo,” he said. “The trade mission enabled new commercial relationships to be forged and we believe that a joint approach to winning new business brings faster results.”

Mark Jones, the city economic development and regeneration manager at Hull City Council, said: “The connections with Rotterdam are valuable to the Humber and also fit with two of the key aims of our City Plan – which are to harness all Hull’s assets to become the leading UK Energy City as part of the Humber Energy Estuary and for Hull to be known across the UK and beyond for its unique heritage and culture.

“The trade mission made inroads to create growth between the two ports while also helping to set up cultural links with an international partner. This will help to strengthen our cultural programme and help with our City of Culture bid.”

HumberPort is now working with the council and other partners to look at a similar visit to Bruges later this year, attending TransRussia in April 2014, which is the world’s biggest logistics exhibition and to host a showcase of international activity in the Humber late next year.

The visit on June 17 & 18, which included presentations to the Port of Rotterdam on the Humber Port by Peter Aarosin of Danbrit Shipping, culminated in a networking dinner attended by more than 50 companies and hosted by the Humber delegation.

The delegation comprised: Lord Haskins, Humber LEP; Cllr Steven Bayes, Jon Pywell, Mark Jones, and Helen Stinson, Hull City Council; Prof David Menachof, the University of Hull’s Logistics Institute; Pam Jackson, the University of Hull’s Business School; Peter Aarosin, Danbrit Shipping; Kim Catterick and Paul McGrath, PD Ports Humber, Jeffe Baker, Associated British Ports; Mandy Masters, Dalby Offshore Renewables; Trevor Shaw, GLDPartners, and Andrew Oliver and Nick Scott, Andrew Jackson Solicitors.