North-east ports are “perfectly positioned” to be among the ten Freeports planned by the UK Government, local MPs have said.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss announced today (Friday) that a new Freeports Advisory Panel will be established to advise ministers on the establishment of up to ten Freeports.
The Conservative government has said the proposals could have the same effect on the country’s ports and airports as the transformation of London’s Docklands area in the 1980s.
Cities and towns around the country will be invited to bid to be one of the ten granted Freeport status after Brexit.
Freeports are hubs for business and enterprise for both manufacturing and services trade. They can be free of unnecessary checks and paperwork, including customs and tax benefits.
These designated zones can reduce costs and bureaucracy, encouraging new businesses to set up or re-shore. Successful Freeports elsewhere in the create jobs and boost the economy through liberalised planning laws.
It has already been suggested that Peterhead and Aberdeen could be possible locations in Scotland.
David Duguid, Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, said: “Peterhead, as the largest white fish port in Europe and a major supply port for the North Sea oil and gas industry, is well positioned to be one of the ten Freeports.
“I met the management at Peterhead Port Authority just yesterday to discuss this. In fact, the CEO Simon Brebner already has experience of Freeports elsewhere.
“I think Peterhead would make a very strong case indeed.
“These are exciting plans that have the potential to create jobs and provide a major boost for the local economy.”
Ross Thomson, Scottish Conservative MP for Aberdeen South, said: “I have already made the case at the highest level of government that Aberdeen should be one of the ten Freeports planned in the UK.
“Aberdeen has long been the engine room of the Scottish economy and our harbour is already a key driver of economic growth.
“With the new expansion plans into the Bay of NIgg progressing well, Aberdeen is perfectly positioned to bid for Freeport status.
“These plans have the potential to create thousands of jobs and generate millions for the local economy.
“I have written to Liz Truss to make the case for Aberdeen and inviting her to the city to see the harbour and meet business leaders here.”
“I have already discussed this with the Harbour Board in Aberdeen and I know there will be interest from the business community to find out more about the opportunities that lie ahead.”