Thames Freeport fully operational after final green light from UK Government

Thames Freeport fully operational after final green light from UK Government

Offshore Energy — 2023-03-22

Maritime and Ports

The Thames Freeport has been given the go ahead to formally constitute its board and start operating fully, following the approval of the final business case by the UK Government.

The Freeport will now receive up to £25m in funding from the government and potentially hundreds of millions in locally retained business rates to drive growth in the UK’s advanced manufacturing, biomanufacturing, logistics, and low-carbon industries.

It will help drive investment into sectors including automated and electric vehicles, renewable energy and battery storage, generating thousands of jobs and boosting the local economy.

A partnership between Ford, Forth Ports Limited and DP World, Thames Freeport will see over £4.6bn in new public and private investment, and the creation of new jobs. Significant investment in training and skills is expected to contribute to the ‘levelling-up’ of the communities and businesses in East London and South Essex.

“This latest wave of Freeport approvals is a major boost for UK maritime and the wider levelling-up agenda. Business, and the wider communities, will now be able to benefit from the wave of investment, development and jobs that Freeports are projected to generate,” Robin Mortimer, Maritime UK Chair said.

 “Thames Freeport offers expanding businesses in green tech, low carbon logistics and manufacturing the advantage of the substantial investment incentives, streamlined customs procedures and co-location within a flourishing green freeport ecosystem.  The addition of three industry heavyweights to our board as further momentum to our freeport offering. We welcome you to join us in this journey towards a better, greener and global future,” Ruth Kelly, Chair of Thames Freeport, commented.

Thames Freeport estimates that it will generate over 12,000 new jobs, and as a gateway to London, its hubs are well placed to provide global shipping routes for exporting UK-produced goods and importing vital products for supply chains.

The hub includes three tax sites located at:

  • London Gateway, the UK’s most integrated logistics hub and one of the world’s fastest-growing container ports, connecting over 130 ports and 65 countries and handling almost 2m 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) annually;
  • Tilbury, London’s major port, with a throughput of 16m tonnes per annum with an estimated value of £8.7bn
  • Ford’s Dagenham Engine Plant, London’s largest manufacturing location for over 90 years.

Over the coming months, we will begin to see the green shoots of the freeport’s land development, infrastructure projects, skills initiatives and innovation programmes take shape. The appointment of a strong management team and board will boost the freeport activity and complement our business strategy, which is centred on accelerating growth in our low carbon logistics offering at the heart of Europe’s biggest consumer market and the South East’s industrial base,” Charles Hammond OBE, Chief Executive of the Forth Ports Group (owner and operator of the Port of Tilbury), said.

According to Ernst Schulze, UK Chief Executive of DP World, the UAE-based logistics giant plans to make £1bn fof investment into the UK over the next decade, including the £350m new fourth berth at London Gateway that is currently under construction. 

“We will continue to look at options to enable the UK economy’s global connectivity, create high-skilled jobs, invest in clean energy technologies, and support the development of local industry,” he concluded.