Thames Freeport to ‘turbocharge’ region’s green credentials

Thames Freeport opened for business last week with estimates that it will draw £4.5 billion of new investment and create 21,000 skilled jobs, as well as ‘turbocharge’ the region’s green credentials.

Positioned on the doorstep of the UK’s busiest ports and the large labour market of London and the south east, the freeport is designed to create a new global gateway for trade and benefit communities such as Thurrock, Barking, Dagenham and Havering, which have high rates of unemployment and child poverty.

Supported by a share of £200 million of government funding and tax incentives, the Thames Freeport covers a 34 km-wide economic corridor. With the aim of being a hub of innovation, putting the region at the forefront of the cutting-edge sectors of the future, there will be significant investment in hydrogen technology, battery storage and electric vehicles.

“This is a truly exciting and momentous moment for London and the south east,” says minister for levelling up, Neil O’Brien MP. “Thames Freeport will turbocharge the region’s green energy credentials, inject billions into the economy and help level up by creating jobs and opportunities for local talent.

“Ford’s Dagenham site is a great example of how British businesses will directly benefit and help to put our country at the forefront of the industries of the future.”

The new Thames Freeport Skills Accelerator is believed to also unite industry with local schools, colleges and universities to provide training and job opportunities so that local people can gain the skills they need and secure employment.

Ruth Kelly, chair of Thames Freeport, comments: “The Thames Freeport will be a new centre of excellence for the country. The Thames Freeport partners come together to offer a platform for global Britain.

“The freeport provides Ford with a great opportunity as a test bed for customer-focused mobility technologies; London Gateway has fantastic global connections and land ready for development now; while the Port of Tilbury continues to deliver growth across processing, advanced manufacturing and next generation logistics.”

Thames Freeport opens just weeks after the UK’s first freeport opened for business in Teesside, with a specific focus on green energy and offshore wind power. At the Budget in March 2021, the chancellor announced eight prospective freeports locations in England, including:

                •              East Midlands Airport

                •              Felixstowe & Harwich (known as Freeport East)

                •              Humber

                •              Liverpool City Region

                •              Plymouth & South Devon

                •              Solent

                •              Teesside

                •              Thames

Freeport East, including the ports of Felixstowe & Harwich, will begin initial operations later this month as eligible businesses that have based themselves in the tax site start to benefit from tax incentives.

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