SOUTH Essex’s economy could be “transformed” over the coming years by Thames Freeport, according to bosses who say they are beginning discussions to bring in companies of “national importance”
Construction is underway for more vast warehouses on the sprawling site at London Gateway port to cater for businesses attracted by the perks that go with being situated within a freeport.
Alan Shaoul, UK chief finance officer of site-owner DP World, said:
“There’s three or four very large projects that have been talked about, for which the freeport has been shortlisted as a potential site. If they happened it would be of national significance.
“Most of them are confidential but to give an example, Rolls Royce has had a request for proposals for a site that are interested in hosting their modular nuclear reactors, small nuclear reactors. They want high-end manufacturing facilities.
“This is very early stage but it’s things like that.”
Ruth Kelly, chairman of Thames Freeport, added:
“I think it’s fair to say there has been a sharp increase from investors. It’s been noticeable right across the estate and at Ford Dagenham as well.
“This is the first time we’ve had interest from those sorts of manufacturing companies. It would transform this part of the local economy.”
Since delivery firm UPS set up at the freeport in 2017, other companies including Lidl, Dixons, Carphone Warehouse and SH Pratt Bananas have followed.
Mr Shaoul said:
“The timing has been quite fortuitous for securing freeport status in the Thames. It’s coincided with a quite a difficult few years in terms of supply chains and the need to secure additional warehousing, logistics space and all those capabilities . . . . .
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