Humber Freeport launches with ambitions to generate huge investment and over 7,000 jobs

Humber Freeport has launched with a mission to drive hundreds of millions of pounds of investment and at least 7,000 new jobs. The freeport will harness the unique potential and location of the Humber to stimulate economic growth, skills development and inward investment in both established and emerging industries.

The event, attended by leading figures from the public and private sectors, marked the establishment of the Humber Freeport Company Ltd and signals that the organisation is now fully up and running.

Speaking at the event, Humber Freeport chair Simon Bird said: “The Humber Freeport has an outstanding and potentially unique opportunity to be not merely a source for economic growth, but the primary vehicle for the delivery of the Government’s levelling up agenda in the Humber.

Mr Bird outlined the benefits freeport status brings to companies investing in the tax and Humber Freeport comprises of three defined tax sites Hull East; Able Marine Energy Park and Immingham, on the south bank of the Humber; and Goole each of which offers incentives for businesses operating within the zones.

Benefits include land tax relief, business rate relief, enhanced capital allowances and National Insurance contribution relief for employers. In addition, a new customs zone which has been created at Grimsby will help unlock growth in the car handling and storage sector, supporting the growth of the electric car industry.

Mr Bird said investors also benefit from “assumed permitted development rights to speed up the planning process” and that “when added to being adjacent to high-quality port operations, the offer becomes even more appealing”.

Mr Bird was joined as a speaker at the launch event by Michael Green, head of Freeports at the Department for Business and Trade. Mr Green coordinates the department’s work to establish freeports as national hubs for global trade and investment and promote their attractiveness to prospective investors and export markets overseas.

He said: “Freeports represent a generational shift. Inward investment is hugely important for job creation and regeneration and we are looking to build on the UK’s centres of excellence with targeted Government support. Humber Freeport will play a key role in decarbonising industry in what is the largest industrial cluster in the UK.

“It will ensure the region makes the most of the unique assets it holds. Being within four hours of most areas of the UK, the size of opportunity here in the Humber should not be underestimated.”

Freeport status will enable the Humber to maximise opportunities from the net zero transition, in offshore wind and other low carbon technologies, creating highly-skilled jobs and driving investment.

Humber Freeport will build on significant ongoing investment in the region, including Pensana’s £150m rare earth metals processing plant, now under construction, and plans by Meld Energy to invest £180m in a green hydrogen production facility, both at Saltend Chemicals Park, east of Hull, which sits within the freeport footprint.

At Goole, Siemens Mobility is investing up to £200m in a rail manufacturing facility, where tube trains for London’s Piccadilly line will be built. The factory is the heart of a growing rail village encompassing manufacturing, servicing and research and development facilities.

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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