Plans unveiled to create 10 ‘freeports’ to boost trade post-Brexit

Plans unveiled to create 10 ‘freeports’ to boost trade post-Brexit

The Government has announced plans to establish up to 10 so-called ‘freeports’ after the UK leaves the EU.

Freeports are hubs for business and enterprise where regular customs controls and tax regimes are more relaxed. 

Launching the initiative, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss MP said: “Freedoms transformed London’s Docklands in the 1980s, and freeports will do the same for towns and cities across the UK. They will onshore enterprise and manufacturing as the gateway to our future prosperity, creating thousands of jobs.”

A Freeports Advisory Panel has been set up to guide the government. The panel is made up of government ministers, economists, academics and industry experts, including the CEO of UK Major Ports Group, Tim Morris.

Tim said: “UKMPG is delighted to join the Government’s Freeports Advisory Panel. Freeports are a potentially transformational opportunity for locations with the right conditions and strong local support. They have proved to be successful in stimulating investment and jobs in a range of locations around the world. 

“We welcome the Government’s call for freeport proposals. It’s the right thing to do to open the opportunity to all and let the strongest bids come through. It’s an exciting project to be part of and UKMPG looks forward to its role on the panel alongside our work improving conditions for development more generally to boost investment, jobs and prosperity in coastal communities.”

The most successful freeports in the world attract businesses and create jobs for local people through liberalised planning laws. 

One such port is in Miami in the US, which sees over seven million tons of cargo pass through its port every year. Businesses within the zone can import, warehouse and re-export products duty-free. 

Businesses can also defer paying tax on their products while they are stored on site, helping them to respond more quickly to spikes in demand for their products. Freeports with less regulation help businesses cut down on paperwork, and they offer greater flexibility on when, where, and how they trade.

Ports in the UK which have already expressed an interest in the bidding process to achieve freeport status include Teesport, the Port of Tyne, Milford Haven and London Gateway (pictured above,inset).

More details on how ports and airports will be able to bid for freeport status will be announced in the near future, the Government said.