Located in Wales’ industrial heartland, the Celtic Freeport will accelerate the low carbon economy and encourage significant investment for new green industries.
The Celtic Freeport’s investment and innovation corridor will support new manufacturing facilities and major port infrastructure upgrades to oversee the roll-out of floating offshore wind (FLOW) from the Celtic Sea. The Freeport will also provide the backbone for a cleaner future based on the hydrogen economy, sustainable fuels, carbon capture and storage, cleaner steel and low-carbon logistics.
The Freeport encompasses 2 key seaports of Milford Haven and Port Talbot, alongside strategic industrial complexes and logistics centres.
Celtic Freeport offers a range of incentives relating to customs, tax, planning, infrastructure, and innovation. See further details on the benefits of Freeports.
Its proposed tax and customs sites are located across Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot.
(Green finance and innovation, Offshore wind)
Sector and market opportunity
The Celtic Freeport represents a unique opportunity to accelerate investment and drive innovation as Wales looks to a greener future.
From Milford Haven to Port Talbot, the Freeport will create a green investment corridor allowing businesses to capitalise on the opportunity in renewable energy technologies, particularly floating offshore wind (FLOW) in the Celtic Sea.
The Freeport will facilitate the building of 2 expanded green energy ports to help unlock the significant FLOW opportunity, from manufacturing and installation to maintenance and operations. This is supported by a strong local legacy in steel and port industries and accompanying high-quality skills base, set for further dedicated Freeport investment.
The Celtic Freeport is an exciting project that will accelerate supply chain innovation and encourage significant investment in port infrastructure, alternative fuel plants, renewable energy bases and factories, while fast-tracking modern skills for new green industries and national decarbonisation.
Offshore wind energy in the UK is poised to grow rapidly over the next 10 years, with ambitions to deploy 50 gigawatt of offshore wind by 2030, as part of the UK government’s plan of ‘powering up Britain’. As FLOW moves into deeper seas, floating offshore wind will be deployed at scale.
The Celtic Freeport will therefore help deliver an accelerated pathway for Wales’ net zero economy, with the potential to generate over 16,000 new, green jobs, many in FLOW, and up to £5.5 billion of new investment.
The Celtic Freeport has 2 primary development locations: Port of Milford Haven and Port Talbot, alongside the strategic industrial clusters they support.
The Freeport offers an attractive location for energy companies with its excellent access to energy infrastructure, established supply chain, distribution infrastructure and a skilled workforce.
The Haven Waterway in Pembrokeshire is home to Britain’s single largest cluster of energy-related businesses. It processes around 20% of the UK’s energy needs, supporting the employment of 5,000 highly skilled workers in Wales, with many hundreds more throughout the wider supply chain.
The companies operating along the Haven Waterway include 2 LNG terminals, an oil refinery, one of Europe’s most efficient combined-cycle gas turbine power stations and 2 major fuel storage terminals. These all have a vital role to play in supporting improved energy efficiency and the net zero transition at the forefront of exciting developments around low-carbon hydrogen and renewable energy.
The Freeport is home to the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone, an area steeped in industrial heritage, a major manufacturing location. It’s also home to innovation assets like ORE Catapult with strengths in the advanced materials and manufacturing, energy and environment and construction sectors.
Fly from 2 airports with international connections in Cardiff and Bristol. Access a number of ports close by in Barry, Cardiff, Newport, Port Talbot and Swansea, which collectively handle more than 12 million tonnes of cargo every year.
The ports also cover an area of 3,400 acres and are able to meet the needs of both the local regional economy and the South West and Midlands due to their strong road links.
Local talent and skills
With more than 107,000 students in nearby universities, of which over 25,000 undertake degrees in STEM related subjects, the Celtic Freeport offers great access to local talent and skills.
Wales has a talented workforce and strong research and development facilities. It’s producing technology for the future in advanced manufacturing, life sciences, clean tech and digital sectors. More than 1,395 foreign-owned companies are operating in Wales, including Toyota, Siemens Healthineers GE, Sony and Airbus.
Research and expertise
Alongside support from Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven, investors can benefit from strong links with numerous academic institutions. This includes Swansea University, Cardiff University, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of South Wales.
Expertise is also offered through the likes of the Marine Energy Engineering Centre of Excellence (MEECE) at the Pembrokeshire Science and Technology Park.
National government support
As specially designed areas with beneficial economic regulations, Freeports can help you achieve sustained growth, and may be able to save you time and money through:
- Land Transaction Tax relief
- enhanced Capital Allowances for investment in plant & machinery and structures & buildings
- five years of Non-Domestic Rates relief
- employer National Insurance contributions relief
Customs and Planning
- simplified customs procedure
- deferrals and exemptions from duty payments
- VAT suspension within customs sites
- supportive local planning environments with constructive public-private partnerships
- extensive public investment in skills and infrastructure
- access to the Freeport Regulation Engagement Network (FREN), enabling direct and early engagement between businesses, Freeports, and regulators
- access to the Freeport Innovation Network (FIN), a collaboration vehicle for Freeports to shape and organise their innovation activity as a collective
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