Hull could be an ideal location for one of the 10 freeports which are planned for the UK after Brexit, ABP has hinted.
The Government announced on Friday morning that ports and airports will be able to apply for free port status after the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31.
Freeports are designated areas where normal tax and tariff rules do not apply. It means goods can be imported and exported without being subject to checks, paperwork or import taxes.
Companies working in freeports would pay lower taxes such as reduced VAT and lower rates of employment tax.
ABP (Associated British Ports) welcomed the move, announced by Liz Truss, and hinted the Humber International Enterprise Park – land east of its current port site in Hull – could benefit from free port status.
A spokesperson said: “Many ABP ports and sites located close to our ports, such as Port Talbot and the Humber International Enterprise Park, offer large areas of development land close to deep water, ideal for facilitating the efficient import of raw materials or components and export of finished products.
“Freeports can capitalise on these advantages and make these sites even more attractive for investment in new manufacturing.
“Associated British Ports is delighted by the Government’s announcement on freeports today. ABP is a strong supporter of freeports since they offer the potential to attract significant new investment, boost manufacturing and exports. In doing so, free ports can create thousands of new jobs in many areas where they are most needed
“We look forward to working closely with Government to deliver this exciting and ambitious policy.”
The UK last had freeports in 2012, and new Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he believed their return could create jobs in “left-behind areas.”
ABP’s support of the freeport announcement is big news for Hull and the Humber.
The port operator employs thousands of people in the region, at its docks in Hull, Goole, Grimsby and Immingham.
International trade secretary Liz Truss said freeports could create “thousands of jobs in many areas where they were most needed.”
Freeports have however been criticised by some, including Labour, who fear the move could attract money launderers and tax dodgers.
In the past, the UK has had free ports in Liverpool, Southampton and the Port of Tilbury, but not in the Humber.
Source: Hull Daily Mail website