Forth Ports and DP World have announced a partnership which will submit a join freeport bid incorporating the Port of Tilbury and DP World London Gateway.
The partnership has also announced the appointment of Vivid Economics who will provide expert advice and economic analysis during the process.
Details of the bid will be developed with Vivid over the coming months with the policy statement by the UK Government expected to be published in the autumn.
The timescale of submission of a bid is expected to be towards the end of 2020 or early 2021, DP World said.
“We believe a freeport on the Thames will ensure that the UK continues to be an attractive destination for inward investment, and that bringing London Gateway within a freeport will help lower the total cost of trade to the benefit of UK industry and retailers and ensure resilience in the overall supply chain. Working with Forth Ports will enable us to create the most sustainable, strategically located, trade enabling centre of excellence in the UK, whilst allowing us to support the development of local industry and create high skilled employment for the local area,” said Ernst Schulze DP World UK CEO.
Both operations in Tilbury and at London Gateway have the scale, global connectivity and the ability to expand and develop land at scale as the market demands, said a statement made by DP World. The digitally connected multi-site free trade zone will focus on clean growth while seeking to act as an innovation hub across a range of sectors.
Technical Paper: Are Freeports the Way Forward?
DP world said that the Thurrock freeport bid would strongly support the area’s employment focused growth strategy, positioning Thurrock as the port capital of the UK.
Meanwhile the Port of Tilbury is one of the fastest growing multi-purpose ports in the UK and is a national export hub surrounded by high-value industrial clusters that would be boosted by freeport status.
Utilising the port’s experience of operating a freeport in the recent past (Tilbury held freeport status until 2012), streamlining customs processes and developing new terminals, the port is committed to bid for a designation in Thurrock.
The port has invested £1 billion during 2012-20, which has seen it double the size of its business in the past 10 years and is projected to double the volume of cargo across the quay and increase direct employment.
DP World London Gateway is the UK’s newest container port, with the DP World Group having invested over £1.5bn to develop a state-of-the-art deep-sea container port and Logistics Park. London Gateway offers flexible, fast supply chain solutions with the ability to handle the largest containers vessels, and boasts 9.25 million sq ft of convenient, modern warehousing space.