British Ports Association welcomes Freeports Consultation

Post-Brexit UK to announce 10 new free ports

'They will unleash the potential of communities both by boosting trade with our friends across the globe and transforming surrounding areas into hotbeds of innovation where businesses will grow and create new well-paid jobs'.

With Brexit done, the United Kingdom plans to announce the location of up to 10 new free ports - scheduled to begin operating in 2021 - by the end of this year, the government said.

The government said it was considering tax measures aimed at increasing investment in infrastructure, construction and machinery in free ports to raise productivity.

"Freeports will unleash the potential of our historic ports, creating jobs and regenerating communities across the UK".

- Freeports could be located inland as well as adjacent to ports.

The consultation is seeking views on such changes and says the government is particularly interested in policies that support them without displacing activity from other areas of the UK.

They will feature "cutting-edge customs, transport and green technologies to be trialled in controlled environments, before being adopted more widely in relevant sectors of the economy", it added.


Traditionally, a freeport is an area outside of a country's customs territory but within its physical borders, sometimes known as a 'free zone.' This allows certain goods to be transhipped or processed through a port without attracting customs duties. They can also be used to import raw materials and make finished goods for export. It is also possible that with these taxes the costs of hiring workers can be reduced as well.

But chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak denied the plan will facilitate tax avoidance, and said a U.S. trade boss reassured them they are safer than other ports.

Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group, said: "Experience from around the world demonstrates that freeports can be transformational in the right circumstances".

"Our recently opened 2050 Innovation Hub, together with our expanded, globally connected container terminal, streamlined customs systems and substantial developable land mean our operations are ideally suited to support existing or new manufacturing and processing business opportunities".

"It's vital that the government sees freeports as more than just about tariffs - aspects like planning, connectivity and skills are essential".

Once the 10 week consultation is completed, the government will invite sea, air and rail ports to bid for freeport status on a competitive basis.

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