Transport for the North (TfN) is to create a dedicated freight and logistics strategy in a bid to boost freight activity and job opportunities in the north of England.

TfN, the body formed of stakeholders and authorities from a selection of northern cities as part of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda, has appointed consultancy firms Mott Macdonald and MDS Transmodal to oversee the development of the freight and logistics strategy.

The role of the two firms is to determine the “size, role and likely growth of potential of the freight and logistics industry in the north”, after which they will work with TfN to develop suitable investment proposals and a policy agenda.

The resulting Freight and Logistics Strategy will form part of an updated Northern Transport Strategy, which will be presented to George Osborne before the 2016 Budget.

David Brown, director general at Merseytravel and TfN executive board member, said: “This is the north doing things differently – the public and private sectors working together and looking holistically at what we can do to boost our freight and logistics potential.

“Despite the fact that up to 60% of containers entering the UK are destined for the midlands and the north, 90% arrive through southern ports. This needs to be rebalanced. An efficient, sustainable freight industry is of massive importance to economic growth, supporting countless industries.”

MDS Transmodal MD Mike Garratt said: “The freight industry accounts for around 8% of the economy and makes huge investments in its own fleets and infrastructure in a highly competitive environment, while depending on the road and rail networks provided by the public sector.

“Our objective is to identify a shared vision covering investment, operations and planning that will command the confidence of the private sector, attract investment and promote economic success for Northern England on a sustainable basis.”