Austen Shakespeare

Teesside freeport open for business

Teesside Freeport – the UK’s first and largest freeport – has today begun operations, unleashing its “transformative potential” on the region.

Situated at locations right across the Tees Valley, including Teesside Airport and Wilton International and with its heart at Teesworks, the freeport will help businesses benefit from a package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, and streamlined planning processes.

It is hoped the Teesside Freeport will create more than 18,000 new skilled jobs and generate billions of pounds for the local economy over five years, with work well under way on the first scheme at Teesworks.

GE Renewable Energy is set to build a new offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing facility on the site which will supply Dogger Bank, the world’s biggest wind farm. The scheme is expected to deliver up to 750 manufacturing jobs and a further 1,500 in the supply chain.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The day has finally come – after years of campaigning and shouting about the transformative potential of a freeport for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, we’re at last open for business.

“This has put us well ahead of the game in being able to attract investment and capitalise on everything we have to offer.

“We’re throwing our doors open to the world, showing businesses that we’re a truly outward-looking, international region ready to welcome the cutting-edge sectors of the future. In turn, this will create good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people right across the region, boosting our economy and ultimately putting more money in their pockets.

“We’re already reaping its benefits with investors coming on-site now, with GE Renewable Energy choosing our area because of our freeport status. As we lead the UK in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries and jobs of tomorrow, the sky’s the limit as to what the Teesside Freeport can achieve.”

Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Mary Lanigan said: “It’s great news that the Teesside Freeport has crossed the finish line and will now become a catalyst for world-renowned companies to invest in our region, bringing even more innovation and expertise to the area.

“Vitally, the freeport will also help create the secure and well-paid jobs that people in Redcar & Cleveland, and the wider region, deserve, improving their quality of life and giving a real boost to our communities.”

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