Teesside Freeport, the UK’s first and largest freeport, has today begun operations, unleashing its ‘transformative potential’ on the region.
Mayor of the Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, officially launched the Teesside Freeport three weeks ago and it is now ready to welcome businesses from across the globe, as it positions the region as a leader in clean energy, advanced manufacturing and innovation.
Situated at locations across the Tees Valley, the freeport will help businesses benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, streamlined planning processes to boost redevelopment and government support to promote regeneration and innovation.
The Teesside Freeport will create more than 18,000 new highly skilled jobs and generate billions of pounds for the local economy over five years, with work well under way on the first scheme at Teesworks.
GE Renewable Energy is set to build a new offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing facility on the site which will supply Dogger Bank, the world’s biggest wind farm.
The scheme is expected to deliver up to 750 manufacturing jobs and a further 1,500 in the supply chain.
This facility will sit next to the in-development 1.2km heavy lift South Bank Quay to service the offshore sector, which recently secured £107m from the UK Infrastructure Bank, its first investment in the region.
It forms part of the wider 4.5m sq. ft of advanced manufacturing and industrial space set to be built on 450 acres of land next to the wharf, as the area aims to become the UK’s premier offshore wind hub.
Commenting, Mr Houchen said:
“The day has finally come, after years of campaigning and shouting about the transformative potential of a freeport for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool, we’re at last open for business.
“This has put us well ahead of the game in being able to attract investment and capitalise on everything we have to offer.
“We’re throwing our doors open to the world, showing businesses that we’re a truly outward looking, international region ready to welcome the cutting-edge sectors of the future.
“In turn, this will create good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people right across the region, boosting our economy and ultimately putting more money in their pockets.
“We’re already reaping its benefits with investors coming on-site now, with GE Renewable Energy choosing our area because of our freeport status.
“As we lead the UK in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries and jobs of tomorrow, the sky’s the limit as to what the Teesside Freeport can achieve.”
The Teesworks Freeport will also have access to a share of £200m of government funding to support the region’s levelling up ambitions and to become the UK’s clean energy powerhouse.
Minister for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien added:
“I am delighted to see the Teesside Freeport spring into operation today, putting the region at the forefront of UK’s drive to net zero.
“Freeports will help to generate prosperity and spread opportunity by driving trade and innovation and delivering a world-class workforce for the future.
“We’re seeing evidence of this in Teesside already with GE Renewable Energy planning to bring their new blade manufacturing plant to the site, which they estimate will create thousands of new jobs.”