Written Representation:
Heysham Port
regarding the application for
Development consent to complete
the Heysham to M6 Link Road
IPC Reference: TR010008
On behalf of
Transport Solutions
for Lancaster and Morecambe
(TSLM)
Unique Reference: 10015381
7th May 2012
1
Introduction
1.1
The port of Heysham is one of several west coast ports traditionally serving
the Irish and Northern Ireland sea freight market. One of the arguments put
forward for the HM6L is that the port is fast growing and well placed to
capitalise on a growing market for sea freight transport between the west
coast, Irish and Northern Ireland ports. Whilst port related activity and
employment is to be welcomed it is also clear that Heysham is a relatively
small player in a rather volatile market and arguments for a new road costing
upwards of £120 million should not be based on the extreme uncertainty and
unpredictability of Heysham’s importance as a west coast port over the next 56 decades. It is also clear that the Port of Liverpool which like Heysham is
part of the Peel Ports group has the potential to increase its throughput by
approximately 70% by 2030 (Mersey Ports Masterplan 2011) and that
Liverpool’s geographical location near to very large centres of economic
concentration and associated origins and destinations for freight traffic will
give Liverpool a significant competitive advantage over Heysham during the
period covered by its Masterplan.
2
Heysham and Irish Sea traffic
2.1
The Port of Heysham exists in a highly competitive market occupied by at
least 6 ports. Table 1 lists these ports which we will designate as the “Irish
Sea Group” or ISG and lists the annual tonnage at 3 time points
Port Traffic of the Irish Sea Group, 200-2010, in thousands of tonnes
Heysham
Fleetwood
Liverpool
Stranraer
Cairnryan
Holyhead
TOTALS
2000
3723
1530
30421
1506
2283
3444
42907
2005
3676
1635
33775
1155
3274
4147
47662
2010
3461
1137
30020
1017
2634
2658
40927
Source: Port Freight Statistics: 2010 Final Figures, Department for Transport,
September 2011
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/port-freight-statistics-final-2010/portfreight-statistics-full-summary.pdf
2.2
2.3
Table 1 reveals some basic characteristics of Irish Sea freight traffic:

Heysham was responsible in 2010 for 8.4% of the total freight throughput in
this port group

Irish Sea freight traffic declined by 5.3% in the period 2000-2010 and declined
by 15% in the period 2005-2010

Heysham’s’ figures show a small decline of 1.3% in the period 2000-2005 and
a decline of 7.1% in the period 2000-2010
These data are also discussed in a Lancashire County Council report revealing
the problem of decline at the Port of Heysham and the relatively small scale of
port activity in Lancashire (0.9% of the UK total). The report summarises port
traffic in the following table revealing an 8% decline at the port of Heysham in
the period 1997-2009:
Table 1A Lancashire and other selected UK ports, foreign and
domestic traffic, 1997 to 2009
Traffic (thousands of tonnes)
1997
Grimsby
and
Immingha
m
London
Milford
Haven
Tees and
Hartlepool
Fleetwoo
d
Heysham
Lancaster
1999
2001
2003
2005
2007
Percentag
e change
19992009
2009
47,991 49,757 54,831 55,931 60,686 66,279 54,708
10.0
55,692 52,206 50,654 51,028 53,843 52,739 45,442
-13.0
34,518 32,187 33,192 32,737 37,547 35,496 39,293
22.1
51,249 49,316 50,842 53,842 55,790 49,779 39,183
-20.5
1,362
1,368
1,608
1,624
1,635
1,772
1,327
-3.0
4,069
121
3,370
112
3,824
117
4,083
156
3,676
111
3,586
123
3,102
121
-8.0
8.0
Liverpool 30,841 28,913 30,288 31,684 33,775 32,258 29,936
Manchest
7,939 7,825 7,879 6,088 7,222 8,079 6,670
er
3.5
All UK
558,53 565,61 566,36 555,66 584,91 581,50 500,86
ports
0
4
6
2
9
4
3
Source DfT: Maritime Statistics
-10.9
-11.4
Source:
http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/office_of_the_chief_executive/lancashireprofile/main/
maritime.asp
Ship arrivals at Heysham have shown a 40% decline in the period 1999-2009:
Table 6 Ship arrivals, 1999 to 2009
Number of vessels
1999
Fleetwoo
d
Lancaste
r
Heysham
2001
2003
2005
2007
2008
Percentag
e change
19992009
2009
787
965
909
888
931
461
752
-4.4
225
206
225
145
151
134
163
-27.6
3,484
2,922
2,390
2,701
3,290
2,490
2,086
-40.1
United
153,96 145,43 152,89 146,18 139,66 130,55 119,03
-22.7
Kingdom
1
4
6
2
2
1
8
The arrivals recorded relate to movements of all sea-going vessels of 100 gt or
over.
Source:
http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/office_of_the_chief_executive/lancashireprofile/main/
maritime.asp
2.4 A similar story is revealed in Isle of Man port statistics (Isle of Man Government,
2011). The Isle of Man has been linked to the port of Heysham for a very long
time but in the period 2000/01 to 2009/10 general freight in tonnes (excludes oil
and gas) declined from 95022 to 79472, a reduction of 17%. The decline in the
period 2005/6 to 2009/10 was 19%.
2.5 A recent Competition Commission report (Competition Commission, 2011) drew
attention to the economic problems associated with Irish Sea traffic:
2.6 A recent study of NW ports (NWDA, 2009) identified the unpredictability of
market conditions applying to Irish Sea traffic and the uncertainty surrounding
which port would actually benefit from changes in those market conditions:
Source: NWDA (2009), page 34
2.7
Irish sea freight traffic and the Port of Heysham do not exhibit long term,
sustained, vigorous growth and if a commercial organisation were intent on
putting together a business case for new investment these data would not
provide a credible evidence base for borrowing money or for asserting a rate
of growth into the future that would produce an acceptable rate of return on
the investment. It is a telling point that no commercial organisation connected
with the Port of Heysham or the nuclear power station at Heysham has come
forward with any financial support for the HM6L. If the HM6L is seen as an
important component of the economic success or functioning of port or
nuclear power stations it would be reasonable to expect some financial
contribution from both. None has been forthcoming.
3
Capacity issues on Irish Sea freight routes
3.1
Ireland and Northern Ireland have a combined population of 6.4 million which
is 1.2% of the European Union total of 501 million. Ireland has a service
based economy with 66% of total employment in services. The combination
of a relatively small population and a relatively high service-based economy
means that trade flows between the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland are
likely to remain relatively small. This relatively small amount of freight
movement is served by a high number of ports. These are listed below
Northern Ireland Ports
Irish Ports
Drogheda
Dublin
Dundalk
Dun Laoghaire
Cobh
Waterford
Rosslare
Source:
The Irish Maritime Transport Economist, Volume 8, April 2011
http://viewer.zmags.com/services/DownloadPDF
UK Ports: Stranraer, Cairnryan, Heysham, Fleetwood, Liverpool, Holyhead,
Fishguard, Pembroke
3.2
Referring back to Table 1 we have a situation with approximately 40 million
tonnes of freight handled by 6 UK ports and having the option of utilising 10
Irish and Northern Ireland Ports. Whilst there are no specific data on port
capacity on Irish Sea freight routes the offer of 6 UK ports and 10 Irish/NI
ports to deal with freight from and to a relatively small regional economy
(1.2% of the European Union population) can be regarded as generous and
subject to volatility as operators switch traffic between ports in response to
their own commercial imperatives.
3.3
This shifting of traffic between ports is likely to be a continuing feature of
Irish Sea freight traffic and adds to volatility and uncertainty. A recent
example of this shift occurred between Fleetwood and Heysham:
Source:
The Irish Maritime Transport Economist, Volume 8, April 2011
http://viewer.zmags.com/services/DownloadPDF
Page 23
Another example is the possibility that the Isle of Man Steam Packet service will shift
to Liverpool:
THE Steam Packet has signalled it is considering pulling out of Heysham harbour and concentrating its
services on Liverpool instead.
In a radio interview, chief executive Mark Woodward said Liverpool was a ‘clear favourite’ of the
majority of passengers and freight customers.
He said that the creation of a bespoke, in-river berth at Liverpool would be ‘serious option’ for the
Steam Packet looking to the long-term, allowing the use of bigger and more capable ships.
Mr Woodward’s comments came as Liverpool city councillors revealed they were in talks with the
Steam Packet about sharing the landing stage of a new River Mersey cruise liner terminal at the Pier
Head.
In his interview, Mr Woodward said there may well be arguments about whether Heysham was the
right harbour for the company in the long term.
He said the Steam Packet had long and historic links with Liverpool which was ‘clearly the destination
of choice’ for the majority of passengers and freight customers.
Source:
Isle of Man Today, 7th February 2012
http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/could-steam-packet-pull-out-ofheysham-1-4218784
3.4
Volatility also occurs from year to year in response to market conditions and
changes in the macro-economy.
Irish Sea freight traffic declined by 18% in 2009 when compared with 2008 and this
overall aggregate decline included a decline of 9.5% in Ro-Ro traffic
According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the amount of goods handled by Irish ports during
2009 fell to 41.9m tonnes of goods, compared with 51.1m tonnes in 2008.
Goods received decreased by 19.5pc in comparison with 2008, while goods forwarded fell by
14.5pc.
Meanwhile break bulk and other goods traffic decreased by 47.5pc in the year, roll-on/roll-off traffic
by 9.5pc, lift-on/lift-off traffic by 15.6pc, liquid bulk traffic by 9.1pc, while dry bulk traffic decreased
by 29.7pc
Imports accounted for 69.3pc of the total tonnage of goods handled while exports accounted for
30.7pc, the CSO figures showed.
The annual port figures also showed a 10.2pc drop to 13,223 in the number of vessels arriving into
Irish ports in 2009, compared with the 14,729 reported in 2008
Source:
http://www.businessandleadership.com/leadership/item/23978-irish-port-traffic-falls18
3.5
A final source of volatility can be found in the very ambitious plans of Peel
Ports for port development in Liverpool. The argument normally made in
favour of Heysham emphasises that it is well placed to capture road freight for
the Irish/NI market because it minimises road freight distance and provides the
industry with a much better offer of cheaper sea miles compared to expensive
road miles, applies a fortiori to Liverpool. Liverpool is a “much better bet”
than Heysham in a world dominated by the desire to minimise road miles and
take advantage of cheaper sea miles. This “better bet” also brings Manchester
into the market for Irish Sea traffic and a higher level of use for the
Manchester Ship Canal adding yet more capacity to Irish/NI freight traffic
routes and more competition for Heysham
3.6
Peel Ports currently have a Masterplan for its Liverpool operation that
includes a 70% increase in traffic from 39.64 million tonnes in 2008 to 68.58
million tonnes in 2030. This is a hugely significant addition to Irish Sea
freight route capacity and the map produced in the strategic plan shows
Liverpool in the pole position for serving the Irish/NI market. Heysham is not
included in this map which was prepared by the owners of the Port of
Heysham.
http://www.peelports.co.uk/assets/masterplan/Executive_Summary.pdf
3.7
The scale of the Liverpool/Manchester ambitions is very large indeed:
3.8
The Peel Ports masterplan for Liverpool and Manchester will deliver a very
large increase in port capacity for Irish/NI sea freight in an area that is
extremely well connected to the national motorway network and to a regional
economy embracing the whole city region of Manchester and Liverpool and
far more opportunities for reducing road miles of freight than can be offered
by Heysham. The harsh reality in a strong competitive commercial world is
that Heysham will not be able to compete with Liverpool and the intrinsic
volatility of Irish Sea freight traffic will combine with even stronger
competitive pressures that will lead to the switching of traffic away from
Heysham.
4
National Policy on Strategic Routes
4.1
The DfT has designated a number of routes and corridors that are of national
importance including those that serve Northern Ireland and Ireland. Norman
Baker (the relevant minister) was quoted in a DfT press release dated 23rd May
2011:
The A1 north of Newcastle to the Scottish border has been made a route of strategic national
importance following a consultation, Regional and Local Transport Minister, Norman Baker,
announced today.
The move sees approximately sixty-five miles of the A1 join a key list of nationally important
roads.
It is part of the Government’s move to ensure the economic importance of r outes from England
to the capital cities of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are properly recognised.
A number of roads linking Bootle with Twelve Quays Ferry Terminal in Birkenhead,
Merseyside, will also become a route of strategic national importance . This is because it is the
main passenger and freight ferry terminal for traffic travelling between Liverpool and Belfast.
Norman Baker said:
"The important changes I am announcing today will ensure the economic importance of routes
from England to Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff are properly recognised.




As a result of the changes two additional routes will be recognised in future as being of national
strategic importance
The A1 north of Newcastle – between its junction with the A19 at Seaton Burn – to the Scottish
border (providing a defined link to Edinburgh)
Approximately nine miles of Local Authority controlled roads between Bootle and Twelve
Quays Ferry Terminal in Birkenhead, including part of the A565 and the Kingsway Tunnel (providing
connectivity with Belfast).
The full route is as follows:
A565 from junction with A5036 in Bootle to A5063 "Leeds Street"; then
A5063 "Leeds Street" from junction with A565 to A59 "Scotland Road"; then
A59 "Scotland Road" to "Kingsway Tunnel"; then "Kingsway Tu nnel" to grade separated
junction with A5027; then
A5027 to junction with A5139; then
A5139 to A554; then
A554 to Twelve Quays Terminal entrance
Source:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/press-releases/dft-press-20110523
4.2
The May 2011 ministerial announcement followed a consultation and report
on the consultation in September 2010 which considered which ferry port to
designate as the national strategic terminal for Belfast traffic. The report not
only favoured Birkenhead but did not even include Heysham in the list of
candidates.
4.3
There is no mention of Heysham and its role in serving Irish Sea traffic in
ministerial announcements or documentation from the DfT dealing with routes
of “strategic national importance”. It is clear that Heysham and its road links
are not regarded as part of
“a route of strategic national importance”
This sits uneasily and illogically with the designation of the HM6L as a
nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP).
5 Is there a problem with HGV ferry traffic on the existing highway network?
5.1
It has been argued that the existence of large numbers of HGVs arriving at and
departing from the Port of Heysham produce a strong argument for a bypass
that would divert many of these HGV trips from the existing urban highway
network onto a new road, potentially benefiting both the HGV trips and
congestion on the existing road network especially at peak hours. Under these
circumstances HGV journeys would, in theory, save time and fuel, and the
road would underpin the operation of the Port, so adding to the economic case
for a bypass. We have carried out a statistical exercise to test this position and
find that the majority of HGV trips take place outside of peak hours and in
relatively non-congested conditions on the urban highway system. The results
of this analysis are presented in Appendix 1.
5.2
The analysis in Appendix 1 clearly shows that only 4-6 out of 18 sailings are
potentially affected by peak traffic conditions on the local roads network and
then only to a limited extent; and no less than 10 of the 18 sailings arrive or
depart in the evening or night, when journey time savings would be minimal.
We conclude that the scale of benefits attached to HGV journeys for example
through time savings and reductions in fuel costs are, in fact, very low and are
unlikely to provide a compelling case for a bypass.
6
Conclusions
6.1 This contribution to the evidence base for considering the case for the HM6L
concludes that there is no credible argument for investing a very large amount of
public money in a road scheme to connect the M6 with the port in such a fragile
and volatile market. This would appear to be the view of central government
which has opted for 12 Quays at Birkenhead for its favoured strategic option for
serving Northern Ireland. Port related arguments for the HM6L do not stand up to
analysis and evaluation and it is highly unlikely that the next 2-3 decades will see
a steady rise in freight traffic through the Port of Heysham. The whole Irish Sea
freight market is highly volatile and unstable and subject to changes in ownership
of shipping lines, the switching of ships from one port to another, changes in the
scale and sophistication of logistic offers by those ports pursing very ambitious
masterplans and changes in the economy itself which have shown the Irish Sea
trade to be very vulnerable to economic difficulties.
6.2 The commercial reality is that there is no case for investing in the HM6L on logic
related to the future economic success of the Port of Heysham or its role in
handling future levels of Irish Sea freight traffic. If this were the case then there
would be an argument for a public private partnership with those profit-taking
enterprises that would benefit from Heysham’s future growth actually contributing
to this small piece of an infrastructure jigsaw. The commercial world that appears
to support the HM6L is clearly not willing to back its rhetoric with cash and that is
a telling point in the debate about the rationale for the road.
6.3 The commercial world does not back the HM6L, central government has excluded
it from its designation of routes of strategic national importance and our analysis
confirms that Heysham cannot produce a robust business case to support £120
million of public investment in road infrastructure.
References
Competition Commission (2011), Stena AB and DFDS A/S Merger Inquiry. A report
on the completed acquisition by Stena AB from DFDS A/S of certain vessels and
assets operated on the Irish Sea
Isle of Man Government (2011) Digest of Economic and Social Statistics, Table 13.3,
page 82
http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/treasury/economic/digest20111.pdf
Mersey Ports Master Plan. A 20 year strategy for growth. Consultation Draft. June
2011
http://www.shipcanal.co.uk/assets/pdf/masterplan/Executive_Summary.pdf
NWDA (2009) NW Ports economic trends and land use study. Final report
DEPARTURE ARRIVAL
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1
1
Appendix 1
HEYSHAM PORT FERRY
TIMETABLES AND PEAK
TRAFFIC CONDITIONS
2
1*
1**
2**
1
1
2***
1
3
1
1
Figures are numbers of sailings arriving or departing each hour of the day (source: web
sites of respective ferry operators); some variation in days of service operation, omitted
for simplicity
Figures in red are sailings most likely to be affected by peak hour traffic conditions on
roads accessing the port (but see notes below).
Isle of Man ferries are included, but have times varying by up to one hour either side of
the time allocated in the Table: in no cases are Isle of Man ferry arrivals and departures
anywhere near peak traffic times.
Shaded times are peak traffic hours.
Notes:
* Seatruck arrival 0600: mostly unaccompanied trailers, so a number of vehicles are
unlikely to need to depart the port before 0900.
** Seatruck departures 0830 and 0900 plus 0900 Stena service to Belfast: most
vehicles likely to arrive at the port before 0730
*** Arrivals 1715 and 1730, many vehicles on 1715 arrival unlikely to leave the port
much before 1800, still less likely for the 1730 arrival.
The table indicates that only 4-6 out of 18 sailings in and out of the Port of
Heysham are potentially affected by peak traffic conditions on the local road
network, and then only to a limited extent.
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Heysham and Irish Sea Traffic