The South Eastern part of England became a transportation hub due to its strategic, and economic, location – With its easy access to London and several major motorways, railways and ports.
Kent has been a major hub for transportation for as long as many people can remember… That might be because parts of it have been since the 18th Century when parts of Kent were turnpiked!
Not only does Kent supply a vital gateway to London, but also to mainland Europe and this allows the county to have a diverse economy with a range of exports worldwide.
What does Kent actually export?
One of the biggest exports in Kent is manufacturing, companies such as BAE systems and Meggitt PLC have operations in Kent, producing a range of components and systems such as aircraft parts, avionics and safety equipment.
Kent is also home to major pharmaceutical companies including two which everyone now knows due to COVID-19… Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Not only were these companies major exports for the COVID-19 vaccine but they also produce cancer treatments and antibiotics.
You may have heard of Kent being referred to as the “Garden of England” and this is because of how fertile the land is and how mild the climate generally is.
A key agricultural produce of Kent are fruit such as apples, pears and berries which are exported to Europe, often to France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Other countries that Kent exports fruit to are Spain, Italy and even further afield to parts of the world in Asia and the Middle East.
One of the biggest transport hubs in Kent is of course the port of Dover, the busiest ferry port in Europe which serves as a bridge from the UK to mainland Europe.
The port serves around 2.5m freight vehicles such as lorries and ships as well as 12m passengers each year. This makes it a vital link in the UK’s transportation network , supporting over 22,000 jobs.
The port of Dover isn’t the only major port, Kent is home to several such as the port of Ramsgate and the port of Sheerness – These also serve as links between the UK and countries in mainland Europe, transporting goods and materials.
The rail network in Kent is a major part of the countys infrastructure, supplying high speed rail services such as the Eurostar and HS1 which has attracted significant investment and development.
The rail infrastructure has created new construction of commercial and residential buildings, this may have impacted property and rent prices which may not help with the current homelessness levels in Kent and the struggle with cost of living.
Kent also has a vital motorway and road network which allows it to be a major transportation hub.
The M20 runs through Kent and serves as a critical passageway between London and Europe for cargo and passenger traffic. There is also the M2 and the A2 which provide important links between Kent and other parts of the UK.