Could Holyhead become the location of Wales' first freeport? Credit: Google Earth

Bidding opens for ‘rocket-boosting’ Wales freeport 

Holyhead is among the locations vying for freeport status, an initiative aimed at creating jobs, attracting investment and driving innovation. 

The UK and Welsh governments are now inviting bids from local authorities and consortiums across Wales that want to be considered as the location for the freeport. 

The Wales freeport, which will become the UK’s ninth, is being backed by £26m of government funding. The bidding process will close on 24 November. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Freeports have the potential to place rocket boosters under communities with their huge power in driving, harnessing and delivering tangible growth, in the same way Wales has with its proud and historic role as the engine room of success for the whole of the United Kingdom”. 

A freeport is a specially designated economic zone where imports are not taxed. They were established in the 1980s as a means of encouraging economic activity and manufacturing in the surrounding areas. 

The location of Wales’ first freeport will be announced this winter and be operational by 2023, according to the UK government. 

Holyhead on Anglesey has expressed an interest in becoming a freeport zone. Plans are currently in the works to build a Brexit customs facility by the Holyhead port. 

Other locations in South Wales are also in the running.  

The Welsh and UK governments have not ruled out the possibility of creating more than one freeport in Wales “if a truly exceptional proposal were presented at the bidding stage”. 

Applicants are being encouraged to show how the new freeport will: 

  • Help to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Wales 
  • Support Wales to build a stronger, greener economy as it makes maximum progress towards decarbonization, with an emphasis on fair work and supporting the industries and services of the future 
  • Form strong coalitions and partner with leaders in the private and public sectors to support businesses with a global reach, and businesses who aspire to a global reach, to achieve their ambitions. 

“[The freeport] offers an opportunity to harness Wales’ abundant economic potential domestically and internationally by reimagining the role of ports, whilst promoting fair work and sustainability,” said Welsh Government economy minister Vaughan Gething. 

“The Welsh Government believes a better deal for workers is essential to a fairer and more equal Wales. So, I am looking for bids that break the industry ceiling on net zero standards, exemplify the high labour standards that promote fair work, and articulate a shared vision formed by long-lasting partnerships which genuinely involve all social partners.” 

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Interesting. So freeports were a thing in the 80s when we were in the EU?

By Disgruntled Goat

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