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First UK Freeports Confirmed For 2021

The UK Treasury has announced that the first Freeports are on track to open in 2021, and have explained more about the new initiative

Published on October 8, 2020

Felixstowe Felixstowe is one of the largest ports in the UK. Photo: John Fielding

The UK's first Freeports post-Brexit are on track to be opened in 2021, according to the latest update on the initiative by the UK Treasury. In an announcement made yesterday, October 7, the government outlined their plans to "turbo-charge" post-Brexit trade through Freeports.

The update confirms that the Freeport bidding process is due to open before the end of 2020, with the first Freeport due to open before the end of next year. In response to a consulation on Freeports, the government is inviting sea, air and rail ports to join the bidding process.

According to the government Freeports are set to benefit from a "streamlined planning process to aid brownfield development", a "package of tax reliefs to help drive jobs, growth and innovation", and "simplified customs procedures and duty suspensions on goods".

Explaining the thinking behind the introduction of Freeports, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said that "Our new Freeports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities across the UK and supporting jobs ... They will attract investment from around the world as we embrace new opportunities following our departure from the EU and will be a key driver for economic recovery as we build back better post coronavirus."

Logistics UK, formally the Freight Transport Association, responded to the announcement by saying that "Logistics UK is pleased to see the government progress its plans to establish Freeports across the UK; these sites have the potential to unlock significant opportunities for international trade post-Brexit. We called for an ambitious customs model, measures to speed up planning processes, and a commitment to geographic flexibility and opportunities for all transport modes – all of which have been included in the plans. We will continue working with government to ensure their establishment delivers the best outcome for logistics and the wider economy."

For more details on the Government's announcement on Freeports, click here. For more information on Logistics UK, go to logistics.org.uk.

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