Government launches infrastructure body to bid for projects abroad

Organization will be co-chaired by international trade minister Greg Hands and Wates chairman James Wates

The government is teaming up with contractors and consultants to target infrastructure projects across the globe as it looks to make the UK more competitive on the world stage.

The new body, Infrastructure Exports: UK (IE:UK), co-chaired by international trade minister Greg Hands and Wates chairman James Wates, will bring together companies to bid primarily for large infrastructure contracts as a single “Team UK” consortium.

Members of IE:UK include Arup, Atkins, Carillion, Gleeds, Mace, Mott MacDonald and Turner & Townsend, who all have board membership on the new initiative. But Wates said the initiative would not be closed off to other firms.

The new group will meet for the first time this month and then three times a year to choose which projects it will form consortiums to bid for.

Wates said setting up the new body was “a recognition that we’ve just not been punching our weight and securing overseas infrastructure work”.

He added: “It’s time to do it and I think the key thing is that the government has recognised that perhaps we’ve not been so good at supporting in a collaborative approach infrastructure exports overseas, whereas some of our international competitors and [other] governments are better at it.”

According to the department for international trade, global annual construction investment is expected to grow by 85% to $15.5tn (£12tn) by 2030. Hands said: “We must make sure UK firms are in prime position to take advantage of it.”

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