As many as ten new innovative free ports are set to open in the UK as a result of the opportunities presented by the UK leaving the EU.
The UK government said on 7 October 2020 that the UK’s free port tender process had been launched in 2020, with the earliest free ports opening in late 2021, and that England’s sea, land, air and rail ports would be invited to bid for free port status.
In March 2021, eight free ports were announced in the UK Budget as follows,
1. East Midlands Airport
2. Felixstowe & Harwich including the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port
3. Humber including parts of Port of Immingham
4. Liverpool City Region including the Port of Liverpool
5. Plymouth & South Devon including the Port of Plymouth
6. Solent including the ports of Southampton, Portsmouth and Portsmouth International Port
7. Thames including the ports at London Gateway and Tilbury
8. Teesside including Teesside International Airport, the Port of Middlesbrough and the Port of Hartlepool
Freeports will create jobs, drive investment and revitalise communities and help drive economic growth post-Brexit.
The UK Freeport will benefit from: a simplified planning process to help regenerate prime land; tax relief to help drive jobs, growth and innovation; simplified customs procedures and duty relief on goods; the Freeport is designed to attract significant domestic and international investment by allowing businesses to operate within the land borders of one country, but with different customs rules applying.
The UK Government engages constructively with local authorities with a view to establishing at least one free port in each region of the UK.