Solent Freeport receives approval for customs site in Portsmouth

Solent Freeport receives approval for customs site in Portsmouth

Portsmouth International Port has announced that it can now operate as a fully functioning Freeport after receiving the approval for a customs site.

The custom site complements the tax site at Portsmouth City Council’s Dunsbury Park business development.

Portsmouth met HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)’s designation order conditions, which means Freeport customs site activities can be carried out within a specified area at the port.

Authorised businesses will be able to import certain goods to the port’s customs site with simplified customs documentation, and without paying tariffs.

Also, authorised businesses operating inside the customs site can store or manufacture goods using imported raw materials. 

By doing this, Portsmouth believes they will add value to goods before exporting them again, and where certain conditions are met, they will not need to pay import duties.

Domestic goods can also be held in the customs site and used in any processing activity.

The port’s customs site will be run by cargo terminal operator and trade experts Portico Shipping Ltd, which has expertise in managing specialist customs requirements through its Portico Logistics operation.

READ: Malta Freeport signs container terminal capacity boost

Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council’s Leader, said: “Following news we can officially operate a customs site at the port, alongside an approved tax site already up-and-running at the council’s Dunsbury business park, Portsmouth now has both requirements for businesses to take advantage of Freeport benefits. 

“This means more reasons to consider Portsmouth as a location, providing opportunities for employment and economic growth.

“Our city has the advantage of being located in a thriving marine and maritime region, and we’re proud to be able to kick start the Solent Freeport’s ambitious plans as the UK’s global gateway,“ Pitt added.

READ: DP World loses status as partner in Solent Freeport

Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s Director said: “Getting the go-ahead for the customs site from HMRC is the last piece needed to provide a fully functioning Freeport.

“We’re grateful for the expertise of our partners at Portico, who as Customs Site Operator (CSO) are critical to overseeing the complex arrangements required to make sure all compliances are met.

“We are fortunate to have a range of experts involved in the Solent Freeport, which highlights why the region is an attractive area for businesses looking for a location that can provide them with the very best skills and opportunities.”

In April 2023, the Solent Freeport appointed James Hassett as its first Chief Executive, who will take up the role in June 2023.

More recently, Port Freeport in the US Gulf Coast celebrated the completion of the Berth 8 Construction Project worth $146 million.

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