Stephen Hammond, Undersecretary of State at the Department for Transport January 2013 visited Trinity House, Harwich Haven Authority and Harwich International Port at the invitation of the Haven Gateway Partnership on 7th January 2013.

As the Minister with responsibilities that include Strategic Roads, Freight and Logistics and Maritime matters, the visit was designed to explain to him the importance of Harwich and the Haven Gateway in terms of international trade and maritime activity but to emphasise its need for Government backing for appropriate investment in infrastructure.

George Kieffer, Chairman of the HGP who arranged the visit said:

"We were delighted to host this visit by the Minister so we could show him, first hand, the economic opportunities and infrastructure challenges in Harwich and the Haven Gateway. We are the only area of the country that can boast both an international airport (at Stansted) and an international port (at Harwich) linked by a single road - the A120. I know he went away impressed with the determination and unity of view of our local partners, The Port, The Harbour Authority, Suffolk County Council and Tendring, Colchester and Braintree District Councils to work together on a cross boundary and cross agency basis to succeed in delivering the growth opportunities associated with these key assets. He was also very complimentary about the work we are undertaking to make the case for the redesignation of the A120 as a route of national importance and to bring forward proposals for its upgrading to serve these major gateways."

Kevin Bentley, Portfolio Holder for at Essex County Council said:

“Essex means business and investing in our infrastructure means jobs and economic growth for the county. A programme of major improvements to the A120 will bring huge benefits for or road users and our businesses and I will work closely with Ministers to keep this on their priority list. We also spoke about the Bathside Bay development, and I’m certain Government is now in no doubt as to the contribution in terms of jobs and new skills that project will generate. The County Council will continue to work closely with our partners at Braintree, Colchester and Tendring councils to press the case for these vital projects to come to fruition"

HGP is very pleased to support this visit to emphasise the needs of the Haven Ports in terms of infrastructure and how these extend through both Suffolk and Essex. Working together across administrative boundaries to promote the case for investment in rail, road and sea transport benefits everyone and with the major investment that has already been committed to the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail freight route we know that this partnership approach pays dividends.