Freeport status drives development in key trade locations around the U.K.

2 years after the U.K. Government published news of the freeport initiative, and almost a year after the freeport locations were announced in the budget, the selected sites have seen development in infrastructure and future plans.

The initiative was announced as a part of the U.K.’s plan to rejuvenate the economy following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, promoting trade, jobs, and investment in the U.K. market.

Alongside an increase in demand for industrial space at freeport sites, the acceleration in investment has benefitted the U.K.’s drive towards net-zero, as newly developed sites adopt more stringent measures towards climate change. 

What are the benefits of freeports?  


Freeports are areas around key ports that provide tax relief on certain commodities, allowing for materials to be imported without calculating full import duty and Vat. For a company to benefit from these reductions in tax, they must be physically located within the freeport boundaries which provides construction jobs in the area. 

The development of sites closer to the port reduces the both the haulage cost and the carbon footprint of goods being delivered to, or dispatched from, manufacturing plants due to the reduced mileage of the road freight.

The reduced overall costs of companies’ materials then allows them to be more competitive in the international market. Specific freeport locations are more strategically placed to allow opportunity into differing sectors around the U.K. and globe.

Where are the freeports in the U.K.?

8 freeport locations were announced in England during the 2021 budget announcement:
– East Midlands Airport
– Felixstowe and Harwich (Freeport East)
– Humber
– Teeside
– Liverpool City
– Solent
– Thames
– Plymouth

More freeports are due to be announced for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Development of the Thames Freeport

The Thames freeport, made up of Ford Dagenham, London Gateway, and the Port of Tilbury, has obtained large investment from owners DP World. Yesterday, they announced record volumes in 2021.

In addition to building a 4th berth at London Gateway, 2 large warehouses – 108,973 sq ft and 119,000 sq ft – are under construction to accommodate the increase in trade opportunities for the London area.

Development of Teeside

Teeside was the first freeport to open, and has already been positioned as a key leader in green energy following an initiative from GE REnewables to create a wind turbine plant in the area. This is expected to provide jobs to the area for years to come.
Additionally, Teesport is improving the access for vessels and Ro/Ro vehicles by replacing their infrastructure, offering opportunity for growth in the northern markets.

Freeport East primed to become leader in IT and digital trade


new strategy has been announced to accelerate the East of England’s growth in the IT and digital markets throughout the EU and Asia. The project focuses on developing local ICT talents through Adastral Park to exploring digital-health and smart-living research, but also looks to develop controlled-environment farming and other technical applications for the agri-food sector. 

Within the region, there are also opportunities for the improvement of existing hydrogen gas processing through the Bacton Gas Terminal in Norfolk.

Do you want to know more about freeports?

If you are within a freeport boundary and would like to know more about how your customs clearance could be affected, contact us for more information.
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