Access to Markets
One of Wrexham's greatest strengths is undoubtedly its location, which gives it easy access to markets throughout the UK and worldwide.
Situated close to the huge conurbations of the north-west of England and with easy road access to Birmingham and the Midlands, Wrexham is within a two hour drive of one third of the UK's population and half of its manufacturing industry.
Wrexham's location outside these massive centres of population and industry gives it a distinct advantage, in that it does not suffer from the excess of congestion on the roads that they tend to experience.
Drive times within the UK are surprisingly short and a selection of these is given below:
|London||217 miles||3 hrs 30 mins|
|Birmingham||73 miles||1 hr 30 mins|
|Manchester||52 miles||1 hr|
|Newcastle||170 miles||3 hrs 20 mins|
|Glasgow||230 miles||3 hrs 20 mins|
|Bristol||180 miles||2 hrs 50 mins|
|Liverpool||38 miles||45 mins|
As in most of the UK, rail is not the preferred mode of transport for the majority of companies. However, as ways of reducing road transport are being investigated and as there is talk of subsidies being made available to encourage a move from road to rail, the fact that Wrexham has two stations and is connected to two different lines, could prove useful in the future. Much more relevant to Wrexham companies at the moment is the development of a new rail freight consolidation centre at the Port of Mostyn about 30 miles from Wrexham. A second major terminal is located in Manchester, about 40 miles away.
This airport is just 45 miles from Wrexham, is a major international airport and currently one of the fastest growing in the world. Its proximity and the ease of access to it is one of Wrexham's greatest assets. From a business point-of-view, the following facts relating to Manchester Airport are of particular significance:
- 17th in the world, in terms of the number of international passengers handled
- 40 direct flights per week to the United States
- Direct flights to 4 US cities - New York (JFK and Newark), Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas
- Direct flights to 5 continents, 38 European destinations and 18 cities outside Europe
- Flights to 16 different UK airports
- Flight time of 45 minutes to Heathrow
- Purpose-built world freight terminal
- 45 minutes' drive time away from Wrexham
This airport can be reached in approximately 40 minutes and offers flights to an increasing selection of European destinations, as well as to a good selection of UK airports.
This airport is approximately 20 minutes' drive from Wrexham, has facilities for executive jets.
Manchester Airport's purpose-built world freight terminal is steadily increasing its throughput and the current figure of around 154,000 tonnes of cargo per annum is set to continue to rise.
- The current throughput of freight is three times that of any other UK airport, outside London
- The top three destinations are Hong Kong, Chicago and New York (JFK)
- The USA as a whole is the top freight destination
- Wrexham companies have access to the many national and local freight forwarders who use this facility
There are a surprising number of options available to Wrexham companies, when it comes to shipping:
Wrexham has three 'local' ports, each within an hour's drive - Mostyn, Liverpool and Garston - each of which offers an extensive world-wide service.
The port of Holyhead is important, because of its links to Ireland. It is approximately 55 miles away and, as well as conventional ferry crossings, offers a high speed (90 minutes) crossing by hydrofoil.
There are excellent motorway links to ports such as Hull, Immingham and Felixstowe on the east coast and Wrexham companies do find it practicable to make use of the facilities they offer. To give some idea of timescale, Hull can be reached by truck in approximately 3 hours.
Each of three 'local' ports has its own characteristics.
The site at Mostyn covers approximately 75 acres, which includes a development site of 5 acres. Extensive work has completely transformed Mostyn Dock from a port with just a one-hour tidal window, to one that now operates 24 hours a day. The water depth fluctuates from a low of 9 metres to a high of 27 metres and, whilst the port is currently able to handle ships up to 7,000 tons, the completion of the Phase II development will enable it to take ships of up to 30,000 tons.
There are regular timetabled rail services to Hull and Tilbury and future plans include the provision of a 'land bridge' for goods transported to Mostyn from Ireland, for onward shipment from another port. A weekly freight run from Mostyn to Milan, via the Channel Tunnel, has already been established and this could easily be expanded to give access to any of the trans-european rail freight routes.
Mostyn's main advantages from a user's point-of-view are:
- It is a privately owned port and the working practices are entirely flexible
- There has been substantial and very recent investment
- Full or part containers are serviced to and from Europe and the United States
- The port has its own pilots
- There are opportunities for companies to ship in bulk product, have the use of warehousing or manufacturing facilities and ship out finished goods in containers
- There are timetabled rail links to the east coast (3 times a week to Hull) and to Tilbury, also regular services through the Channel Tunnel, with the possibility of onward shipment to anywhere on the European rail network. A regular run is Mostyn - Milan which takes 36 hours, as compared to 3 full days by ship
- Plans are being put in place for the creation of a major North Wales Euro Rail Freight Terminal at Mostyn.
The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, Britain's second largest port group and one of the UK's top 250 companies, operates the port. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the United Kingdom and currently handles 30 million tonnes of cargo per annum. The main cargoes are containers, timber and forest products, grains and animal feed stuffs, bulk liquids and Tranmere oil. Liverpool can take vessels up to 12.8 m draught. It offers the following facilities:
- The Port of Liverpool is a prime multimodal hub for international trade, employing transportation by road, sea and rail.
- It is the interface for container services on North Atlantic and other deep sea routes, with trans-shipment links to the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Scandinavia.
- The Port of Liverpool Euro Rail Terminal is currently the only privately owned and operated railhead for Channel Tunnel Freight and domestic freightliner services.
- Truck drivers can reach more of the major UK centres of production and population in the eight hour tachograph day than from any other port.
- Liverpool ranks amongst the top 10 container ports in Europe
- The 800-acre Liverpool Freeport is Britain's most successful free zone, offering a strategic springboard into the UK and Europe for goods travelling by road, sea or rail. It already has 1m sq ft of warehousing and a further 800,000 sq ft of warehousing and light industrial units are being develop, as part of a 70-acre expansion of the freeport and port facilities.
Garston is a member of the Associated British Ports group and has a reputation for efficient service in a first class location. In excess of 25,000 sq m of covered storage is available, with ample open quayside storage, quay side and gantry cranes and front loading shovels and fork lifts. The port can handle ships up to 154.2 m long, 19.2 m beam and 8.3 m draught.
- The port attracts a wide range of dry-bulk and general cargoes, including steel products, minerals, chemicals, fertilisers, palletised and heavy-lift cargoes.
- Garston is designated Border Inspection Post for entry of Processed Animal Proteins.
- A recent investment programme has been geared to providing specialist handling and storage facilities
North-east Wales, in general, has a strong tradition as a distribution centre, on account of its mid-point location in relation to all the major manufacturing regions of the UK. Wrexham, in particular, is home to a number of major logistics companies, as well as to a great many smaller transportation companies. Wrexham also benefits from the great proliferation of international freight forwarders which has grown up as a direct consequence of the proximity of Manchester Airport, the various ports and the major manufacturing regions of north-west England. As well as the major companies like UPS, DHL, TNT and Parcelforce, there is also a very active network of locally based transportation companies, which helps to ensure a competitive price structure.