Backing for the East’s Freeport bids

We have written to back the Freeport bids for the region. The East of England has 13 ports along the coast and Thames. This gives us a unique role in supporting businesses across the UK to access international supply chains and markets.

Supporting global gateways is one of the strategic outcomes for our emerging Transport Strategy. The Freeport bids align with our ambitions to support a diverse and thriving economy, level-up coastal communities and decarbonise transport.

Two bids have come forward from our area – Freeport East and Thames Freeport.

Freeport East centres on the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port. On the world’s major trade routes, it connects the UK directly with markets around the world. Focusing on the green energy sector, the bid is a partnership of major companies, international investors, world-leading research universities and local authorities.

London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury and Ford’s Dagenham plant are bidding for a Thames Freeport. The bid highlights the role of the river Thames in a prosperous, global Britain. With excellent links into central London and major European cities, it focuses on creating opportunities for levelling-up deprived communities’ through skills and training fit for a 21st century workforce, supported by new investment and low carbon technology.

Freeports are zones where normal tax and customs rules are changed to encourage economic activity.

In 2020, the government announced plans to create 10 freeports in the United Kingdom to boost global trade following Brexit. Freeports will benefit from planning reforms and additional funding, supporting them to become hubs for innovation to attract inward investment and increase productivity.