The UK and Welsh governments have jointly announced that two Freeports will be created in Wales.
A Freeport is a special economic zone centred around air, rail or shipping ports. Freeports were first introduced in the UK in the 1980s with the aim of increasing economic activity and growth but were phased out by 2012.
Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the UK government decided to reintroduce Freeports, with the bidding and application process for Wales opening in 2022. It was agreed that the successful Freeports would operate in a way that aligns with Welsh government policies on sustainability, net zero and fair work practices.
The Celtic Freeport, based around the port of Port Talbot in Neath Port Talbot and the port of Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, is one of the winning bids.
The Celtic Freeport will focus on low carbon technologies to support the reduction of carbon emissions and help meet the Welsh Government’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050. Plans include a floating off-shore wind project, carbon capture, utilisation and storage, and harnessing the benefits of biofuels and hydrogen technologies.
The second Welsh Freeport will be the Anglesey Freeport in Ynys Mon which will be based around the port of Holyhead, Anglesey Prosperity Zone, Rhosgoch and M-Sparc. Sustainability is also a key focus for this Freeport with plans to develop the Energy Island Programme through marine energy technology testing.
Freeports benefit from a variety of tax reliefs including business rates and land transaction tax, as well as access to simplified customs arrangements. Businesses operating within the designated areas of a Freeport can import, manufacture and export goods with less documentation and delay paying tariffs until a later date.
Each Freeport will receive up to £26m funding from the UK government, and are expected to attract around £4.9bn in public and private inward investment. The two Freeports will also support the regeneration of the regions they are based in, collectively creating over 20,000 jobs by 2030.
Paul Butterworth, Interim CEO of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, said: “The establishment of two Freeports is a positive step towards combatting the tight labour market in Wales and will play a key role in the economic development of the chosen regions, such as Neath Port Talbot.
“Investment in developing regional skills, renewable energy and alternative energy sources will be crucial to the long-term future of business in Wales and the UK. The Freeports are therefore a welcome investment that will develop much needed skills and jobs but also help Wales achieve its net zero commitments.”
At Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid, our trade team keep up to date with all the latest regulations, policies and announcements which affect businesses in Wales who trade globally. Find out more: https://cw-seswm.com/trade/