This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join Us
News & Press: International Trade News

Chancellor to introduce up to ten freeports within a year of the end of the transition period

13 July 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Share |


The Chancellor is preparing to introduce freeports in the UK in a move that could reduce taxes and red tape for UK traders.

Freeports are zones which are considered outside a country for customs purposes, allowing goods and components to be imported and exported from the zone tariff-free.

The Chancellor’s announcement follows a public consultation by the Treasury into freeports, which started in February this year and in which the IOE&IT was a prominent voice on behalf of its members.

The Telegraph reports that 10 freeports could be introduced within a year of the end of the current transition period with the EU, during which the UK continues to trade under EU rules.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson views freeports as a key part of his ‘levelling-up agenda’ to regenerate ‘left-behind’ areas of the country, the FT reports.

Trade hubs

Freeports are often seen as national hubs for international trade and investment, hotbeds of innovation and vehicles for job creation and regeneration.

However, critics warn that they tend to relocate jobs and investment rather than generate new business.

Bob Sanguinetti, head of the UK Chamber of Shipping, told the FT that the test of their success will be whether they create new economic activity for the UK rather than simply moving it from part of the country to another.


The Treasury’s consultation concludes today (Monday 13 July) and the Chancellor is expected to use his autumn budget to invite applications from ports across the country.

Several seaports and airports are already considering applying, including Liverpool, Humber, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

PD Ports operator for Tees Port in Teeside, Jerry Hopkinson, told Loadstar a local freeport would bring “huge investment” and a “jobs boost” to his region.