EuropePorts and Logistics

UK pushes ahead with freeports plan

Eight freeports will be established in England as part of the British finance minister’s annual budget unveiled yesterday.

The first tranche of freeports include successful bids from East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe/Harwich, Liverpool, Humber, Plymouth, Solent, Thames and Teesside.

Businesses located within the freeports will benefit from tax breaks including no stamp duty, full rebates for construction and machinery investment, five years of zero business rates, and lower tariffs and customs obligations.

This is a big-bang moment for offshore wind manufacturing in the UK

Commenting on the developments, 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.”

Other key takeaways from the UK budget yesterday included £20m ($28m) on developing technology for offshore wind farms and £5m on a hydrogen hub in Wales.

Commenting on the news that the UK intends to get more involved in the production of wind turbines via two hubs in the northeast, RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: “This is a big-bang moment for offshore wind manufacturing in the UK which will drive investment in a globally competitive domestic supply chain… This new funding to develop world-class offshore wind hubs in Teesside and Humber is a clear example of levelling-up in action.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Freeports have been here before but were deleted some years ago. As a concept they appear to be long on rhetoric and low on delivery. The jobs created need to be looked at in detail. Are these long term sustained employment in high value jobs or relatively short term construction phase jobs. Are we all destined to become navvies and bricklayers?

    The noise about the big bang for wind turbines needs to be set in context. Offshore wind has been presented as the low cost power generation option. It has also been forensically reviewed and exposed on this argument by an eminent UK university which did a demolition job on the economics.
    Yesterday wind contribute just over 570MW to and aggregated 45GW UK demand. Excessive reliance on intermittent power is no basis for a sophisticated economy to operate upon. Capacity needs to be available when required and not on the vagaries of wind and cloud cover

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