Thames Freeport will formally open for business in November following an announcement by United Kingdom Chancellor Rishi Sunak today.
Thames Freeport was amongst the eight winners of Freeport status in England announced in March 2021.
UK freeports are specifically designated areas where tariffs on imports are either substantially cut or waved in a bid to stimulate economic growth, encourage investment in the port and port community, and collaborate with the wider shipping supply chain to bring efficiencies to supply chain stakeholders.
Thames Freeport planners anticipate the new status will provide £5.1 billion ($7.06 billion) additional Gross Value Added (GVA) and over £4.5 billion ($6.23 billion) in new public and private investment to the national economy.
DP World and Forth Ports are progressing the Thames Freeport, with London Gateway, the Port of Tilbury, Ford Dagenham and the Thames Enterprise Park (TEP) central to its plans.
Ernst Schulze, UK CEO of DP World, commented, “This is exciting news for Thames Freeport, our customers and the local community. Freeport status has already begun to turbo-charge one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe at London Gateway.”
Charles Hammond OBE, CEO of the Forth Ports Group (owner of the Port of Tilbury and Tilbury2), added, “Thames Freeport opens a new chapter for the development around the growing logistics cluster at Tilbury.
“Focused on high value, good quality jobs and high productivity business growth in processing, manufacturing and clean logistics, the years ahead will be an exciting for the Port of Tilbury as we continue to build on our record of delivering new port terminals and premier freight solutions for London and the South East.”
Alan Shaoul, CFO at DP World in the UK, commented, “Thames Freeport offers outstanding financial incentives, potentially the equivalent of up to 50% of the cost of the real estate over five years.
“These include no stamp duty on land purchases, savings on employer national insurance contributions, a five year business rates holiday and generous capital allowances on investment. The flexibility within the freeport’s customs zone will also help manage non-tariff barriers, supporting businesses trading with the European Union (EU) and the rest of the world.”
The Thames Freeport status will also allow Ford Dagenham to progress further to automated electric vehicles.
Robin Mortimer, CEO at the Port of London Authority, said, “Through the Port of London Authority, the tidal Thames connects all freeport sites to the consumer markets of London and the South East, creating the infrastructure for an innovative and green trading corridor. We are determined to play a leading role in the journey to net zero.”