UK Budget Names 8 New Freeports

Following a competitive bidding process, the UK government has announced that eight new English freeports will be established.

They would be based in East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe & Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames, and Teesside.

To understand the weight of the new decision, we first need to understand what freeports are in general.

They are usually located around shipping ports. All goods that arrive into freeports from abroad aren't subject to the tax charges, called tariffs, that are generally paid to the government. Between 1984 and 2012, the UK had seven freeports.

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

A total of 10 freeports have been slated to be created in the UK, with the primary goal of attracting foreign, as well as domestic investment. Freeports would enjoy tax reliefs, streamlined customs procedures, smooth planning processes to boost redevelopment, and government support for promoting revitalization and innovation.

Richard added, “We hope that the 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 several growing sectors from logistics to offshore wind to tourism.”

A Freeports Industry Users Group would be established by The UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG), helping in the implementation of freeports.

UKMPG's Chief Executive, Tim Morris said, “It’s good to see ambitious and exciting bids all around the coast of the UK recognized.”

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