Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and local business leaders have welcomed the City Region’s bid to create a multi-gateway, multimodal Freeport that will enable key sites across the region to attract new investment, create jobs, support the wider economy and increase levels of innovation.
The bid, actively supported and formally endorsed by the LEP, builds on the City Region’s proud maritime history and unique position as a western facing port with established transatlantic and Irish Sea trade links.
It has attracted over 40 letters of support from local businesses keen to back the bid, as well as receiving support from local chambers, trade associations, universities and further education establishments.
The Liverpool City Region Freeport proposition is focused on meeting the core freeport objectives set out by the Government, which is to establish a national hub for global trade and investment, promote regeneration and job creation and sustain a hotbed of innovation.
The designation of three ‘tax sites’ in distinct locations (3MG Mersey Multimodal Gateway in Halton, Parkside in St Helens and Wirral Waters in Birkenhead) would represent a major opportunity to attract a range of investment and facilitate new job creation.
It would also strengthen the region’s position as an attractive location for global trade, inward investment and innovation, whilst at the same time build on the City Region’s manufacturing capability in automotive, biomanufacturing and chemicals.
Such a development also has the potential for future opportunities in hydrogen, offshore wind and tidal power, ensuring that the Liverpool City Region becomes a focal point of the Government’s Net Zero ambitions, as well as a global beacon for investment in renewable technologies.
Commenting, Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP, Asif Hamid MBE said:
“The LEP is delighted to be supporting the City Region’s application to become one of 10 UK Freeport Zones. The LEP has worked closely with local business to help shape the bid and ensure it reflects the current and future needs of industry, as well protecting critical supply chains in the future.
“Local business have been extremely energetic in engaging in the process of developing the application, as well as providing letters of support for the bid. This has been a fantastic example of what can happen when the public and private sector work together on a shared ambition.”
CEO of Mersey Maritime, Chris Shirling-Rooke MBE added: “As the body that represents the maritime sector for the North West, it’s clear to us there would be no better example of the Government delivering on its own levelling up agenda within coastal communities than by supporting the creation of a Freeport trading zone in Liverpool City Region.
“With innovation, the environment, job creation and growth at its core, this project is truly unique, showing not only the incredible assets and potential of our region, but also our boundless optimism and unshackled aspiration.”
The bid was submitted on Friday 5 February to the Treasury and the successful Freeport bids going through to the next stage will be announced in March.