Categories: Business, PD Ports, TeesportPublished On: 29.05.2020357 words1.9 min read

Mayor says Teesside free port would ‘turbo-charge’ economy and could create 32,000 jobs

Tees Valley Combined Authority has issued its response to a Government consultation over so-called free ports.

The 23-page response in draft form will now be considered by members of the authority’s cabinet who are being asked to support it when they meet on Friday.

Free ports are generally a special customs area which has less strict customs regulations.

Companies operating within free ports can benefit from deferring the payment of taxes until their products are moved elsewhere, or can avoid them altogether if they bring in goods to store or manufacture on site before exporting them again.

In 2016 Richmond MP and now Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak published a report suggesting free ports could create more than 86,000 jobs nationwide and be a boon for the likes of Teesport.

The planned creation of up to ten free ports later became Government policy in 2019.

Previously 50 businesses and influential individuals signed a letter from Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen backing a study into the establishment of a free port in the Tees Valley, including Hitachi Rail, Liberty Steel and Stokesley-based Quorn Foods.

Other supporters include Middlesbrough South and east Cleveland MP Simon Clarke.

Analysis carried out for the combined authority has suggested that a free port on the River Tees could create up to 32,000 jobs and add £2bn to regional GVA – the measure of the value of goods and services produced in the North-East.

Meanwhile, Teesport operator PD Ports has said free port status would provide the opportunity to attract inward investment and provide a platform for growth, representing a “step change” in how the firm and others across the country do business.

Mr Houchen said: “A free port in the Tees Valley represents a fantastic opportunity to turbo-charge our local economy and bring with it much needed jobs, growth and investment for local people.

“These are going to be more important than ever as we look to the future and to playing our part in the UK’s economic recovery from the current coronavirus pandemic . . . .

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