Saturday 23rd January 2021
Home Leisure, Tourism & Hospitality Transport News Bid launched for new freeport at ports of Felixstowe and Harwich

Bid launched for new freeport at ports of Felixstowe and Harwich

E-mail Print PDF

A bid has launched for a new freeport centred on the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich which will offer tax advantages to attract businesses and act as a hub for UK importers and exporters with suppliers and customers worldwide.

The government is inviting bids for seven new freeports to open in 2021 as part of at least ten to open across the UK. As well as tax breaks, freeports provide simplified planning rules and customs procedures.

The promoters of Freeport East aim to take advantage of the good road and rail links to the Midlands and the north of England from the two ports -which are both owned by Hutchison Ports UK – to create a manufacturing, green energy and innovation hub which can exploit the region’s strengths in areas such as digital tech and the Internet of Things. The proposals which are being backed by local councils and LEPs, also highlight the area’s links to the clean energy sector, through the Galloper Windfarm maintenance base at Harwich.

George Kieffer, chairman of the project board, said: “I am excited to be leading such a professional and expert team to drive forward a bid that will attract major investment and lead to increased economic prosperity not only locally, but nationally. The area is home to some of the most deprived wards in the UK and by bringing lasting regeneration and creating new job opportunities to the region the project will support the government’s levelling-up agenda. We look forward to working with universities in the region to make Freeport East a hotbed of innovation in the technologies of the 21st century.”

Clemence Cheng, executive director of Hutchison Ports, said: “The combination of the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich offers the UK a unique opportunity in the post-Brexit world, sitting as they do at the main junction point between the UK's principal trade route to and from the Far East and key freight links to and from northern Europe.

Under plans outlined by Chancellor Riki Sunak, a firm can import goods into a freeport without paying tariffs, process them into a final good and then either pay a tariff on goods sold into the domestic market, or export the final goods without paying UK tariffs.

The partnership backing Freeport East includes Hutchison Ports UK, Harwich Haven Authority, Trinity House, Haven Gateway Partnership, New Anglia and South East LEPs, Suffolk and Essex County councils, East Suffolk Council and Tendring District Council.