Scottish bids due

Jack hails Tees freeport as example for Scotland

Alister Jack with Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has hailed the early success of a freeport in north east England as an example of what the initiative can achieve in Scotland.

With just over a week to go before bidding closes on the competition for the two Scottish Green Freeports, Mr Jack is meeting the operators of the Teesside Freeport in Middlesbrough which is hopeful of creating 18,000 jobs. It has already secured multimillion-pound investment from GE Renewables to build a new offshore wind blade manufacturing plant.

Those operating within freeports can import raw materials without tariffs and only pay a levy on finished goods when they leave. The goods may also be exported without UK duties having to be paid.

The UK Government is investing up to £52 million to bring two Green Freeports to Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government.

Following a twelve-week process, bids from prospective operators need to be in by 20 June. Bidders must set out how they will regenerate their area, create high quality jobs, and support transition to a net-zero economy. 

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Aberdeen and Peterhead, Forth Ports, Glasgow City Region and the Port of Cromarty Firth were among nine expressions of interest in setting up a green freeport, announced in July last year. Cairnryan has this week withdrawn from the bid process.

Talks with the UK Government broke down in September over terms and conditions. Agreement on setting two freeports was reached in January.

However, it was reported that Scotland has lost at least three industrial investments because of the SNP’s insistence on a different policy to the UK’s plan for freeports.

Peel Ports is part of the Glasgow City Region bid

Mr Jack today said: “Outside of the EU, the whole of the UK is seizing the freedoms and opportunities to do things differently – including setting up new freeports to turbo-charge economic delivery for people, families and communities.

“UK freeports are a key part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up strategy – they will bring innovation, jobs, prosperity and regeneration. The Teesside Freeport has been a tremendous success from the get go, attracting business and investment to the area.

“As the first in the UK, it is a fantastic example of what can be achieved, securing multimillion-pound investments in renewables production, creating highly-skilled jobs and contributing to our long-term energy security.

“It is great news that we will shortly bring two UK Freeports to Scotland. There is a huge amount of interest from Scottish operators, and I look forward to seeing a strong set of bids.”

UPDATE 10 JUNE: The north east of Scotland revealed that under its plan the region would be turned into the ‘Net Zero Capital of Europe’, boosting GVA by £7.5 billion over the next decade.

A consortium consisting of Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, Port of Aberdeen, Peterhead Port Authority and Aberdeen International Airport is leading the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid.

It is supported by a wide range of regional organisations, including the Energy Transition Zone, Net Zero Technology Centre, Storegga, Opportunity North East (ONE), Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Robert Gordon University and University of Aberdeen.

Glasgow City Region has submitted first details of its bid for an air, sea and rail economic zone on the River Clyde, backed by a public private partnership.

Plans for Clyde Green Freeport are being prepared by AGS Airports’ Glasgow Airport, Peel Ports’ Clydeport, Mossend International Railfreight Park in North Lanarkshire and a partnership of the Glasgow City Region councils.

Full details of the Clyde Green Freeport bid are being kept under wraps until after the bid is submitted later in June.

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