Teesport owners PD Ports has welcomed government’s announcement to launch a public consultation on Free Ports, with the aim to award 10 locations special trade status by the end of 2020.
One of the busiest UK ports and an international gateway to the North of the UK, Teesport bosses have lobbied hard in recent years to highlight the potential benefits of Free Ports in supporting future trade growth, with the Port chosen by Government to announce the Free Ports Commission in August 2019.
PD Ports has described Teesport as the Northern Gateway for international trade, an ideal location to build on its proven history of delivering portcentric activity, backed by an available land bank and skilled labour pool to support further growth.
Chief operating officer and vice chairman Jerry Hopkinson believes there is no better case than Teesport for Free Port status.
“We welcome the fact that Government is demonstrating commitment to delivering Freeport status to sites across the UK and intend to remain at the forefront of that discussion,” he said.
“In our view, there really is no better case than Teesport. We have one of the deepest rivers in the UK and can take some of the world’s biggest ships. Depending on the cargo, we think the River Tees can handle more than 80m tonnes.
“Free Port status could help to drive industry, which is globally moveable, to choose to locate here in the Tees Valley.
“We have a skilled workforce and there is an appetite across the region to invigorate industry and see greater investment in development.
“Having a Free Port on Teesside would not be a silver bullet, but rather a catalyst for growth; creating thousands of jobs and revitalising the industry that was once so prolific in the area.
“We will continue to put a strong case to Government during the public consultation, working alongside key stakeholders, businesses along the River Tees, the North East England Chamber of Commerce and the Tees Valley Mayor to seize the opportunities that lie ahead for our region.”
PD Ports has secured over £1 billion of investments at Teesport over the last 10 years, creating in excess of 2,500 jobs in the Tees Valley as a direct result.