UK’s first new freeports ‘open for business’

11:08pm 30th November 2021

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The UK’s first new freeports are now ‘open for business’, with Thames Freeport along with Humber and Teesside freeports understood to be able to offer a new range of tax and investment benefits from today.

Announcing its operational launch today, Thames Freeport said: “Anyone setting up a new manufacturing, clean energy or logistics business at the Thames Freeport will be able to access tangible economic benefits which are available across the three tax sites at Ford Dagenham, the Port of Tilbury and London Gateway’s Logistics Park. The substantial sites are ready for development now.”

It described freeports as special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply. These include a range of tax incentives, including business rates relief for five years, enhanced capital allowances, relief from stamp duty and exemption from employer national insurance contributions for new and additional employees.  

A collaboration between port operators DP World and Forth Ports, Thames Freeport said businesses looking to expand “are being urged to take advantage of the tax benefits of relocating to the Freeport and being part of a customs zone, which will enable the businesses to continue to have low friction trade processes with the EU and global markets”.

It added: “These tax reliefs are designed to encourage the maximum number of businesses to open, expand and invest in the country’s freeports which in turn will boost skilled, highly paid employment.” 

Launching the freeport’s opening at the conclusion of International Trade Week, Ruth Kelly, Chair of Thames Freeport, declared: “Thames Freeport is open for business. This package of measures potentially reduces property ownership costs for new businesses by 50%, offering a massive fillip to our 1,700-acre development platform – much with planning consent. The accelerated development of these sites will bring significant economic and regeneration benefits to the communities and businesses based along the Thames estuary corridor.”

Humber, Teesside and Thames are the first three zones established as part of the freeports package, the Treasury confirmed last month, having announced eight locations to win freeport status during the spring. 

A collaboration between port operators DP World and Forth Ports, Thames Freeport is an economic zone connecting Ford’s Dagenham engine plant and the global ports at London Gateway and Tilbury. With London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury, Ford Dagenham and the Thames Enterprise Park (TEP) “at its heart”, the project’s leaders said TEP will be a customs sub-zone.

It said businesses looking to expand “are being urged to take advantage of the tax benefits of relocating to the Freeport and being part of a customs zone, which will enable the businesses to continue to have low friction trade processes with the EU and global markets”.

The partners said Thames Freeport will also “provide Ford with a test bed to support the transition to a future of automated, connected, electric vehicles. The Freeport’s transformation programmes aim to increase knowledge transfer, skills development and clean growth.”

By Will Waters

Source: lloydsloadinglist.com

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