The new hub would transform the airport
Glasgow Prestwick Airport's joint bid to become Scotland's Heathrow Logistics Hub received a major boost after securing a place on the shortlist of nationwide potential sites – in the running to deliver Britain's largest infrastructure project.
The Airport's bid was on a longlist of 65 potential applicants which Heathrow has whittled down to a final shortlist of 18, with four north of the border - following a visit by Heathrow Airport representatives in June 2018 and the completion of a detailed pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) in early 2019.
A partnership between Glasgow Prestwick Airport, ABP Ports and South Ayrshire Council, the Ayrshire region's proposition – the Ayrshire Logistics Hub – is in contention to become one of four UK-wide off-site construction centres which will be announced early next year, ahead of work commencing in 2021.
A Scottish hub is guaranteed as a key commitment in Heathrow's plan to enhance jobs and growth in Scotland as a consequence of its overall expansion project – with the eventual site playing a major supply chain role in the overall construction process. The hubs will work by pre-assembling components offsite before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow as required –the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of this method.
The winning location will pioneer off-site manufacturing, kicking off the creation of up to 16,000 new jobs and up to £17 billion in economic growth that the Heathrow expansion is predicted to bring Scotland.
Heathrow's additional flight capacity could also potentially lead to new domestic services operating from Scottish airports - boosting the country's tourism and trade.
Stewart Adams, Glasgow Prestwick Airport's Chief Executive said "We're extremely pleased to be selected for the next phase of the tender process, and we are confident the region has all the key attributes required to support long-term expansion at Heathrow.
"This collaborative bid brings together Glasgow Prestwick Airport, the Port of Ayr, Falkland Rail Freight Yard and Newton Shore. Our comprehensive proposition serves to showcase the best combined air, rail, road and sea freight network in Scotland – underpinned by accessible supply chain capability and capacity, skills pipeline and the availability of extensive industrial development sites."
The Ayrshire Logistics Hub's bid is reinforced by an extensive construction and engineering supply chain of more than 1000 businesses, engaged through an innovative procurement model.
Its overall offering is distinct due to its location – containing an abundance of land and infrastructure while benefiting from 100% business rates relief, excellent transport links to Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland alongside a hugely competitive labour market.
Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "Progressing to the final tender stage is a huge step forward for Ayrshire and our bid to become Scotland's Heathrow Logistics Hub. This announcement underlines the strength of our location in terms of infrastructure and connectivity and reflects our skilled workforce which attracts companies from across the globe.
"With the £250 million Ayrshire Growth Deal set to create around 7,000 jobs over the next 15 years, we are best placed to significantly boost the Scottish and UK economies and the Logistics Hub would be the icing on the cake."
"We will continue to work with our various partners at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, the Port of Ayr, hub South West as the formal tendering process proceeds in the autumn."
Stuart Cresswell, ABP's Port Manager at Ayr, said: "ABP Ayr & Troon are committed to supporting the project led by Prestwick Airport and South Ayrshire Council. Our location and infrastructure allows Air, Rail, and Sea options to any project and there is a close working relationship within many of the local business. It is truly a vibrant community which would welcome and embrace the opportunity to become the Ayrshire logistics hub."
Logistic Hubs will boost the project's efficiency and cut emissions by transporting components to site in fewer lorries. Research by WPI Economics revealed that integrating an offsite manufacturing supply chain into a major project has the potential to reduce the overall cost of the project by as much as 25% whilst speeding up delivery by up to 30%.