Roy Barry, a logistics expert at law firm Brabners, welcomed the £589m upgrade of the Transpennine mainline but says the Port of Liverpool needs more rail connections to unleash its potential. Tony McDonough reports
A Liverpool-based expert in supply chains and logistics says the Government must go much further in rail infrastructure investment to unleash the potential of the Port of Liverpool.
Roy Barry, head of the supply chain, logistics and manufacturing sectors at Liverpool law firm Brabners, welcomed last week’s announcement of a £589m upgrade to the Transpennine railway line which will see more frequent trains with more capacity running out of Liverpool and across the north of England.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also said the scheme could offer greater freight capacity in the region. The most congested section of the route will be doubled from two to four tracks, allowing fast trains to overtake slower ones.
Mr Barry said this was a good start to the Government’s “levelling up” strategy but added much more needed to be done. He said: “Historic imbalances in transport funding have created a huge divide between London and the North so the promise of more rail investment is timely and will undoubtedly be welcomed.
“That being said, a £589m investment in electrifying a single passenger rail line is unlikely to move the dial significantly, particularly when remote working is on the increase.
“We need the Government to commit to a scale of investment that can truly unlock the wider potential of the regional economy by enhancing east-west connectivity and modernising freight infrastructure.
“By way of example, the Port of Liverpool is being billed as the UK’s gateway for international trade after Brexit but is currently only well-served by road. The lifeblood of the north is its ports, airports, industrial estates, distribution parks and the arterial routes that serve them.
“If the region is to prosper, investment in rail and supporting infrastructure must be big, bold and weighted far more favourably towards improving freight connectivity in a sustainable manner.”