Eight freeports in England named

Port of Felixstowe Freeport East, centred upon Hutchison Ports’ Port of Felixstowe (pictured) and Harwich International Port, is one of the selected bids. Photo: Hutchison Ports

The UK Government has announced that eight new English freeports will be established following a competitive bidding process.

In the March 2021 Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that these eight freeports will be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive of the British Ports Association, said: “We welcome this as a first tranche of freeports in England but there will be regions that are disappointed not to have been recognised. These are an interesting selection of bids and we look forward to a continuing a partnership with Ministers who rightly recognise the critical role that ports can play in anchoring prosperity and supporting important industries in our coastal communities.”

He added: “We hope that Government will keep an open mind on further bids in England and perhaps reconsider proposals for those ports not successful today, which still play a foundational role in supporting a number of growing sectors from logistics to offshore wind to tourism.”

At least 10 freeports are anticipated to be created across the whole of the UK to attract major domestic and international investment. Areas given freeport status will benefit from a package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, a streamlined planning processes to boost redevelopment and government support to promote regeneration and innovation.

The UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) will establish a Freeports Industry Users Group to help the implementation of freeports. Tim Morris, chief executive of the UKMPG, said: “It’s good to see ambitious and exciting bids all around the coast of the UK recognised.”

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