A FREEPORT in the North-East could "bolster UK advanced manufacturing" and benefit major employers in the region such as Nissan, a new port has claimed.

Port Zones UK, a new coalition of British airport and seaport operators, say a virtual freeport at the Port of Tyne would help to create a unified Customs area across the North-East region's deep-sea port and the advanced manufacturing cluster, including the Nissan car plant in Sunderland and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).


The introduction of freeports will "stimulate international investment, reshore manufacturing and ultimately lower prices for consumers in a post-Brexit Britain", according to the report.

Its publication comes after the Government announced earlier this year plans to create up to ten tariff-free zones across the UK post-Brexit, and Liz Truss, International Trade Secretary, said Teesport was "very ahead of the game" compared to the rest of the country when she visited the region last month.

Freeports aim to reduce unnecessary checks and paperwork, and include customs and tax benefits, with the aim of reducing costs and bureaucracy, encouraging manufacturing businesses to set up or re-shore.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive at the British Ports Association, said: "In a global marketplace where competition for capital, resources and skilled personnel is fierce, it’s crucial that vital transport nexuses - like airports and seaports - are given the necessary business conditions to continue to grow."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “A North East Freeport on the Tees could grow the region’s economy by £2bn a year and create thousands of new jobs. Not only this, but it would help us to put the Tees Valley and the wider region on the map for global trade, as well as accelerating the redevelopment of the former SSI Steelworks site.

“The work I have done on this subject with some of the UK’s top trade experts and economists shows that of all the possible sites for Freeports across the UK, creating one on Teesside would have a significantly larger positive impact than anywhere else.

“When the Tees Valley voted to leave the EU we voted for more global trade opportunities for local businesses and more good jobs at home. Freeports are an great opportunity to deliver this."