Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’

Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’Boston Docks.

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Members of the council's overview and scrutiny committee were told last week that a huge opportunity exists for the port of Boston as the country leaves the European Union. Economic development manager Clive Gibbon told councillors that Boston had a real opportunity to become 'the food port of the UK'. Members of the committee on Friday agreed to support the report which will go before the council's cabinet shortly and recommends that the authority backs a feasibility study by Midlands Connect to take the project further.

Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’Boston Docks. EMN-201123-111228005

The report states that the project fits in perfectly with the Town Deal's proposal for a Centre for Food and Fresh Produce logistics is set up in Boston.

Councillors were told how "it became apparent, through consultation with fresh produce supply chains, importers, wider partners and the Fresh Produce Network, the volumes of imported perishable goods that arrive into South Lincolnshire, together with the clustering of food production locally, there is the opportunity for a wider project to be considered. "The Port of Boston is ideally placed with its proximity to the "Free Port" of Rotterdam and the Port of Amsterdam to become the food port of the UK. "Creating a sector driven asset would not only be of importance to the local and regional economies, but also have real international significance to nurture and facilitate greater imports and exports, stimulating sector growth opportunities and inward investment within the food production sector."

Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’Boston Docks. EMN-201123-111239005

Mr Gibbon said that by working in partnership with other organisations, including the county council, Midlands Connect, the port authority, and businesses, among others, a "super-efficient logistics hub" could be created.

That would not only safeguard the existing 40,000 jobs in South Lincolnshire connected to the logistics industry, but create significant further employment opportunities. "The UK food industry is keen to deliver substantial growth after leaving the EU," Mr Gibbon said. "We believe that working closely with partners across commercial education and public sectors and a world class efficient port logistics hub with improved road and rail infrastructure supporting the UK and international markets, sustainable growth like this is deliverable.

Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’Boston could become ‘food port of the UK’Boston Docks. EMN-201123-111250005

"The borough and south east Lincolnshire is a strategic economic location for food production and the economic supply chains.

The port of Boston is suitably positioned to take full advantage of the economic growth potential. "This is a real opportunity to become the food port of the UK," Mr Gibbon said. The cabinet will make the final decision on whether to provide up to GBP20,000 of initial financial support for a feasibility study, but the majority of members of the scrutiny committee welcomed the report.

Coun Anton Dani said: "I hope the dream will be a reality and we can get the port of Boston to where we want it to be. "We should bring the prosperity back. This is our time, this is our area.

I would love to see Boston prospering again."

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