Reaping the benefits of E20 trading route
PLANS to help businesses in expand their export visions and tap into a £120bn market are moving forward.
E20 is an 1,880km route from west to east across Europe, from Limerick in Ireland to St Petersburg in Russia and work is being carried out to bring advantages to businesses in our region.
Positioned near the centre of the route, companies in this region have the locational advantages to reap big benefits.
Martin Venning, of the E20 Group, is working to champion the route's potential by identifying new markets and trading opportunities, promoting innovation and efficiency in logistics and developing infrastructure projects.
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Mr Venning said: "The Humber region is in a prime position to benefit from it.
"Our job is to find the opportunities and bring them to our partners in Hull and the Humber region. There is lot of willingness out there.
"We are not trying to come up with a new idea. There are a lot of good things going on but now, what we are trying to say is let's co-ordinate things better."
A conference was held in September at the University of Hull and now, a series of roadshows are set to take place in each country along the E20 route, in a bid to gain the financial support and engagement of a stakeholders in each country.
The E20 Group is now embarking on research projects that need to be undertaken to define commercial propositions to move forward with developing the trading route.
One of these areas will be looking at the practicalities of the infrastructure on the E20 route and seeing if it is working efficiently.
Mr Venning said he believes the infrastructure in the Humber is not being used as efficiently as it could be and thinks there is more opportunity waiting in the Humber region.
He said: "Although we are very supportive of the work being done for Green Port Hull, we believe the economy needs to reflect commercial priorities, too. This work is all great but its also important to look at the other roles the Humber plays."
The team are also looking at how universities are working as economic catalysts and is working with universities across the E20 route, one being the University of Hull.
Mr Venning said: "There is a huge amount of good work going on in research and we need to collectively think how these things are brought to market."
Mr Venning has been working with Bill Walker, director of Knowledge Exchange at Hull University Business School.
Mr Walker said the E20 trading route has been on the agenda for a long time.
He said: "The E20 is about opening up new trade routes for everybody who sees the business opportunity for trading internationally along the E20 corridor.
"We need to look beyond Europe and the E20 route gives us the opportunity to do that.
"We are trying to see how we can help the Humber punch above its weight."
As the team at the E20 Group and others, such as Mr Walker at the University continue to work together to create new opportunities, Mr Venning said this is the ideal chance for municipalities to work together and share an economic development vision, which is important.
He said: "We shouldn't underestimate the role local Government can play.
"There is great creativity within the local Government which could partner with businesses and could be used better. That's an important aspect."
Mr Venning said one aspect of research will look at helping SMEs export and another would focus on using IT effectively.
He said: "There's an awful lot of IT being used in the logistics sector. That offers great potential."