Ian Smith: An opportunity on the horizon – Lincoln’s logistics dream

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Lincoln’s business community is on the verge of a truly exciting time. While that might sound overly optimistic to some, for those who drive in and around the city daily, traffic jams and delays are often a source of anger and frustration.

The tell-tale indications of development, however, are evident and the first real signs of the new Eastern Bypass are appearing.

The much-anticipated link road, which will mark the next step towards completing a ring road around the city, has been slowly gathering momentum and the business community should be bristling with anticipation. As controversial as bypasses are, this one represents a fantastic opportunity for the city.

As a main arterial route for Lincolnshire and the wider region, the A15 will now be linked from Bracebridge Heath to the A158 at Wragby Road in the north of the city. For years, campaigners have wanted to see this happen and with good reason.

Providing faster links around Lincoln to both the north and the south as well as to the Lincolnshire Wolds and coastline is already great for the average motorist, but it also represents a big change for business.

Ports and logistics already represent a huge portion of the county’s business. More than 18,000 people are employed in the sector and it brings an impressive £700 million in direct economic value to the county. This valuable addition into Lincoln’s offering can only be a good thing.

Lincoln has been presented with a golden opportunity.

As a central powerhouse for the county already, this will also give the city a chance to become a logistics and distribution hub. Similar infrastructure boosts have taken place in other areas, we’ve seen the likes of Doncaster become known for logistics.

The M18, M180 and A1 have provided a solid base for nationwide distribution that has meant the city has become known for being an advantageous and cost-effective location in which to do business. See too the success of investment in the ports of Immingham and Grimsby and over the Humber in Hull. Improved routes in and out of ports and road links have meant the route to Europe has been further made easier, whatever Brexit might bring.

It’s not just the convenience aspect that will afford businesses advantages, it is the step-change that will trigger expansions down the supply chain. For every business that can now move things around faster, the domino effect of growth will no doubt see warehousing and storage providers see their fortunes grow and with it, the employment boosts that come with this kind of development.

Lincoln needs to keep banging the drum for business and let everyone know that we are more open for business here than ever. The visitor economy has grown in the last decade to unbelievable levels, there’s no reason why we can’t carry on that enthusiasm as we enter a new era in business.