The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak confirmed in his Budget announcement today that the Humber is among eight areas of England that will have a new freeport.
The eight regions selected to be freeports are East Midlands Airport, Felixstowe and Harwich, Humber, Liverpool City Region, Plymouth, Solent, Thames, and Teesside.
Mr Sunak said the freeport policy is “on a scale we’ve never done before” and will be key in creating jobs, making it easier and cheaper to do business.
"I see old industrial sites being used to capture and store carbon, vaccines being manufactured, offshore wind turbines, creating clean energy for the rest of the country, all located within a freeport", he told the House of Commons in his Budget speech.
The Greater Lincolnshire LEP supported the bid for a freeport on the Humber which was led by Associated British Ports, and its Chair Pat Doody today welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement.
“We are really delighted with the news today,” he said. “We have worked in partnership with the private and public sector to develop a compelling bid for freeports on both sides of the Humber, and it is one that we know exporters and importers will welcome.
“The Chancellor’s announcement of the Humber Freeport will turbocharge our economy and support levelling up in our area. We estimate that this will mean an increase of investment of £3.5bn and 7,000 high quality new jobs.
“Our businesses in the Humber and Greater Lincolnshire will be able to take advantage of new supply chain opportunities in offshore wind and advanced manufacturing, and local people will be able to access more jobs.”
Simon Bird, Regional Director (Humber) at Associated British Ports, said: “We are delighted to learn that the Humber Freeport bid was announced by the Chancellor today as successful.
“The bid is uniquely placed to deliver on the Government’s agenda to level up and decarbonise our economy. Over the coming months we will be focusing on delivery to create the new freeport, which we expect to bring in major investment to our part of the world and which will lead to over 7,000 new jobs for the Humber. The benefits of this will be felt far beyond just the Humber, but across Yorkshire, the Midlands and the North West as well.
“As an initial first step, a new governing board will be created, made up of representatives of the various local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships as well as from a collection of interested private businesses. We hope the freeport will be up and running before the year is over and delivering on bringing new jobs to the Humber from 2022.”
Subject to agreeing the governance arrangements and successfully completing their business cases, the eight new freeports will begin operations from late 2021.
The Humber currently accounts for 23% of all goods travelling through English ports, adding £7.6 billion GDA to the UK, and supports around 35,000 regional jobs. The Humber estuary is home to one the largest and busiest ports complexes in the UK, and is the sensible location for a freeport based on the area’s global strengths of advanced manufacturing and clean growth.
Alongside access to Humberside Airport, the A1, the East Coast Main Line and food clusters in the south, Greater Lincolnshire’s ports and logistics sector also accounts for over 25% of UK rail freight, connecting to the major energy and manufacturing providers in the North and offering significant opportunities as the UK gateway to the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse.
The successful Humber Freeport bid was submitted by a formal coalition led by ABP with support from the four Humber local authorities of East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North and North East Lincolnshire, alongside both LEPs and partnering businesses across both banks of the estuary.