Associated British Ports reports that a consortium from across the Humber is preparing a bid for Freeport status. Two local Enterprise Partnerships of Greater Lincolnshire and the Humber, and the four local authorities of Hull, East Riding, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire, have formed a partnership with local businesses.
The Humber Ports of Hull, Goole, Immingham and Grimsby are already the linchpin of the UK’s port industry, handling 17% of the UK’s trade overall. They handle vital assets such as energy supply materials, 25% of the nation’s fuel, and nearly a third of its timber supplies. They are also at the heart of the burgeoning off-shore wind industry.
If Freeport status is secured, plans include customs zone sites and tax zones across all major ports, securing blue-chip international investment to the area, and the creation of local jobs to tackle economic deprivation in Humberside, and also the wider regions of Doncaster, Leeds, and Wakefield.
Simon Bird, ABP Humber Director and Chair of the Humber Ports Steerco said:
“This is a hugely exciting bid. The Humber Freeport will not only unlock economic growth in our area, but the benefits will be felt well beyond into most Yorkshire and much of the Midlands. Growth will be focusses on business that will help us to create a green and sustainable economy for the future.”
The Humber region presently produces a high amount of carbon, and the proposals particularly emphasise the expansion of green energy investment.
Cllr Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said:
“The Humber has set out a very strong case for Freeport status that will be crucial to our region’s future prosperity and growth. A successful bid will ensure that Hull is well placed to continue to attract the high levels of investment and quality jobs we’ve delivered over recent years, particularly in the low carbon economy.”
In a Post-Brexit climate, Freeports are considered a game-changing policy, aimed at stimulating growth and investment which will help to close the North-South economic divide.
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