Frank Robotham, former group marketing director for Peel Ports, and Peter Nears, strategic planning director of Peel Holdings have taken up new non-executive roles with The Mersey Partnership.
TMP, the sub-regional delivery partner for the Liverpool city region funded by the North West Development Agency, has set the Liverpool SuperPort as one of four priority areas of economic activity to accelerate the local economy. The others are the visitor economy, low carbon economy, and the knowledge economy.
The SuperPort aims to develop intermodal freight and passenger facilities between the ports, airport, road, and rail network, making Liverpool city region the leading distribution and logistics hub for the North of England. The Port of Liverpool is owned and operated by Peel Ports, 51% owned by Peel Holdings.
Robotham will chair the Liverpool SuperPort Committee at TMP. Nears will be his deputy. The unpaid appointments will take effect immediately and are for an initial term of 12 months.
Robotham has over 30 years' experience working in port development. He was responsible for setting up Liverpool Freeport, with tax-exempt status, in the 1980s, and its development into the most successful Freeport in the UK. Nears has worked for Peel Holdings for over 20 years and been responsible for managing development schemes such as the port and airport expansions. He has been a part of TMP's SuperPort Steering Group for over two years.
According to a recent independent research report commissioned by TMP, Liverpool SuperPort presents a major opportunity for the Liverpool city region economy, capable of providing an extra 26,000 jobs and an additional £1bn GVA per year. SuperPort also has potential to directly stimulate growth in other sectors including professional services, ICT, maritime and tourism.
Lorraine Rogers, chief executive of TMP, said: "SuperPort has the potential to position Liverpool city region as the major distribution and logistics centre for the North of England. Frank and Peter bring considerable expertise and knowledge to the development."
Robotham said: "The concept of the SuperPort embodies the many building blocks in place already – infrastructure, trade and an experienced and dynamic community with significant skills and resources, which sets the Liverpool City Region apart from the rest of the country."
Peel has consent for a new mid-river terminal at Liverpool to overcome tidal limitations of mooring large vessels at the port but has yet to start on site due to rising costs and the poor container market in the recession.