A new chapter in Teesside’s renaissance

April 1, 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to hand freeport status to Teesside was one of the standout announcements in last month’s Budget. Covering an area of more than 2500 football pitches,Teesside’s freeport boundary includes, among other sites, Redcar’s Teesworks development, theWilton International site and Teesside International Airport. Here, Jerry Hopkinson, of Teesport operator PD Ports, which is also statutory harbour authority for the River Tees, outlines the potential presented by freeport recognition.

We were delighted to welcome the Prime Minister and Chancellor to Teesport the day after the 2021 Budget, following confirmation that Teesside is one of eight designated freeports across England – heralding a new chapter in the region’s renaissance.

There is no doubt about it: freeport status on Teesside has huge potential to strengthen the long-term future of the region, enabling new trade opportunities to be seized and manufacturing opportunities to be accelerated with international investors.

By cementing the River Tees as the Northern Powerhouse’s leading gateway for international trade, freeport status will undoubtedly provide a major boost to the Northern economy, delivering the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

After working tirelessly to support the Tees Valley Mayor, including holding multiple consultations with more than 100 key customers and stakeholders throughout the bidding process, we are delighted the Government has seen the potential we know our region holds.

This process has been long, and one that has taken much work in order to ensure we maximise the potential benefits for Teesside.

But now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity within our hands, and we are committed to playing a fulsome role in its successful delivery alongside all partners – private investment and collaboration will be key to bringing long-term economic growth and jobs to Teesside.

The River Tees is a national asset for trade and the UK’s only continuous net exporting region of goods. Its unique advantages, combined with its new-found freeport status, will help turbocharge manufacturing and exports, strengthening the river’s global competitiveness.

Teesport, as a whole, contributes in excess of £1.4 billion to the UK GVA and, as PD Ports, we have attracted more than £1 billion of private investment to the region in the past ten years creating 2500 new jobs.

We see the region’s newfound status as a catalyst for further growth, attracting more inward investment to Teesside that otherwise may have gone elsewhere in the UK or overseas.

With our region’s leading research and technological capabilities, its highly skilled workforce and proud manufacturing traditions, there is, literally, nowhere else in the UK better equipped to drive this initiative forward, delivering the bright future Teesside deserves.

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