Freeports in the UK

Freeports will unlock new investment opportunities, drive growth, and support trade, innovation, and commerce across the UK

Freeports within the United Kingdom will transform historic sea, air and rail ports into national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, regenerating communities in our industrial heartlands as the nation levels up and builds back better.

At a Freeport, imports can enter with simplified customs documentation and without paying tariffs. Designed to attract major domestic and international investment, areas given Freeport status will benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, a streamlined planning process to boost redevelopment and government support to promote regeneration and innovation.

In the 2021 budget, the UK Government announced the development of 8 prospective Freeports across England. They are located at:

  • East Midlands
  • Felixstowe & Harwich
  • Humber
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Plymouth & South Devon
  • Solent
  • Thames
  • Teesside

Freeports are expected to begin operations from late 2021. The Government remains committed to establishing at least one Freeport in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Freeport locations

Liverpool City Region

The Liverpool City Region Freeport will focus on creating an advanced manufacturing and digital logistics location. It will also provide connection to a variety of world class innovation assets, and pioneer clean growth.

Teesside

Teesside Freeport aims to encourage investment in the reshoring process, chemical industries and to develop a circular clean growth cluster. This will build on the region’s strengths in innovation, process industry engineering and complex manufacturing.

East Midlands

East Midlands freeport will focus on clean growth and multimodal connectivity. The key aims are to boost international trade in high value manufacturing goods and work with global industrial brands located regionally.

The Humber

The Humber Freeport aims to build on existing strengths of renewable energy, clean growth and advanced manufacturing. The Freeport also provides key local facilities including innovation hubs such as the Rail Innovation Centre.

Felixstowe and Harwich (Freeport East)

Freeport East offers a unique combination of advantages to benefit traders, manufacturers and clean energy suppliers. It offers a future hub for global trade and innovation and is strategically located on the South East coast and within easy reach of major ports in North West Europe.

Plymouth and South Devon

Plymouth Freeport will help build regional innovation clusters and unique proving grounds for marine, offshore renewable energy, defence, and space solutions. Strong local capabilities will allow businesses to prototype, manufacture and globally distribute and service high tech and clean growth products.

Thames

Thames Freeport sits at the heart of Europe’s largest consumer market, connecting the Ford’s Dagenham engine plant to the ports at London Gateway and Tilbury. The Freeport will be targeting tech for clean growth, including future mobility and the hydrogen economy.

Solent

Through links to three world-class universities and host of national research assets, Solent Freeport will catalyse an innovation revolution in maritime, autonomy and green growth. The Freeport also provides the closest direct access to over 70 ports globally.

Future plans

The UK Government are working with the Devolved Administrations and Territorial Offices to also establish Freeports in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as soon as possible.