Ambitions to unleash Plymouth’s full potential as a major international port are to be set out in a new strategy announced by Council Leader Richard Bingley.
The strategy will explore how Plymouth can maximise the combined potential of its four statutory ports, which support defence through Europe’s largest naval base at Devonport, international commercial trade from the Cattewater, including gold star marinas and marine autonomy, fishing at Sutton Harbour and leisure and commercial activities at Millbay.
The ports are already important to Plymouth’s economy but Councillor Bingley says there’s huge potential to create more high value jobs, increase the city’s economic resilience, attract further Government investment and make a positive impact on the city’s carbon footprint.
Councillor Bingley said: “”In order to achieve a genuine international ocean city reputation, we need to be fully coordinated as Port partners to maximize all future business sector and government investment.
“Plymouth is already the biggest and most diverse port in the South West and supports a significant amount of international trade. Our port activities are critical in terms of providing jobs and contributing to the city’s economy. We recognise they’ve got huge potential and that we are superbly placed to build on what we do now to grow Plymouth’s economy and create high more high value jobs.
“Current international events and the global economic picture means major ports will only grow in importance. This is a pivotal moment for us to work together with our partners on a plan that will enable us to capitalise on the opportunities out there.
“These opportunities are massive. There’s potentially more than £1 billion of investment planned to take place in our ports planned over the next 25 years – from MOD submarines refits, the continued development of Oceansgate, our designation as a Freeport, the expansion of Princess Yachts, the proposed Fish Quay redevelopment at Sutton Harbour and the commercial growth in the Cattewater Harbour – cutting-edge marine autonomy work at Turnchapel Wharf.
“There’s also our partnership with ABP and Brittany Ferries aimed at transforming Millbay and unlocking significant export growth and enabling green shipping with a view to becoming a Net Zero port.
“By commissioning a port strategy to bring these projects together and looking ahead to the next 25 years we will be able to capitalise on the opportunities presented by Freeport status, secure further investment and government funding, create more high value jobs, increase exports, improve connectivity and create more resilience as a city.
“The benefits are not just economic – if we can develop more exports locally and reduce our reliance on South East ports, as well as enhance the opportunities of using sustainable energy sources, such as when vessels are berthed here, we can have a major positive effect on our carbon footprint.
“We have so much going for us as port city – whether it is the huge range of skills and expertise at the dockyard, the 1,400 gold star marina berths which support high value tourism, the opportunities for expanding leisure activities at Millbay or enabling our fishing industry to expand and thrive.
“We need to grab these opportunities as our international reputation continues to grow and we attract global attention. Our port is the backdrop for SailGP which will be viewed in 185 countries and has a reach of at least 40 million people worldwide. They are aiming to hit 90 million this year, which would place Plymouth in the same category as cities such as Sydney and San Francisco.
“Bringing all the elements together in a cohesive strategy will also further enhance our plans maximise the potential of having Plymouth Sound as the UK’s first National Marine Park.
“I’m looking forward to having further discussions with all our partners on these exciting opportunities as this important strategy is developed.”