A round-up of developments and new opportunities for the Port of Boston in south Lincolnshire.
The need for lower carbon supply chains and food trade market concerns in capacity and congestion at the UK’s South East ports has driven the game-changing development of the Port of Boston as a fresh fruit and vegetables hub, feeding directly into the UK’s largest food processing cluster in south Lincolnshire.
Spalding and South Lincolnshire has the largest food logistics cluster in the UK, with 30% of all UK food travelling through the area at some stage in the supply chain, representing over a million vehicle movements a year and over 1,200 full truck-loads of food leaving the area every day.
The Boston Town Deal includes plans for a Centre for Food and Fresh Produce Logistics, bringing a specialist training and innovation centre. This new centre will build on Boston College’s investments in the EMAT (Engineering, Manufacturing and Applied Technologies) Centre, and the Digital, Transport and Logistics Academy (DTLA), as well as the LEP-wide Lincolnshire Institute of Technology, which is focusing on skills development for the food chain and technology sector. By 2022 there will be a Centre for Food and Fresh Produce Logistics which will form part of the wider south Lincolnshire food knowledge cluster centred on the South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone in Holbeach which was launched on 17th March 2021.
A new border control post in Spalding has already been opened to clear imports by rail, sea and road, specialising in food and development of the South Lincolnshire food cluster. There is a focus on improving rail links, alongside more direct sea freight routes, to help the industry deliver the 2030 ambition of the UK supermarkets for zero carbon supply chains. The Greater Lincolnshire Food Board and UK Food Valley Programme are strongly focused on low-carbon food chains as a major focus for growth, and we have ambitions to lead this nationally.
The supply of low-carbon energy from sources including our world-leading offshore wind farms, solar, AD (anaerobic digestion) and potentially renewable hydrogen, will enable a medium-term transition to electric vehicle freight services, zero-carbon rail and improved cold storage efficiency, allowing Lincolnshire’s food cluster to deliver the UK’s most efficient and sustainable food chains.