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Felixstowe and Harwich unveil freeport plans

[ November 25, 2020   //   ]

Hutchison Ports has set out its vision for a new freeport, focusing on Felixstowe and Harwich International Port, as part of the government’s consultations to create up to ten such hubs in the UK.

Freeport East would be a manufacturing, green energy and innovation hub that would build on existing road and rail links to the Midlands and the North of England.

It would take advantage of the latest advances in digital technology and the as-yet untapped technological and scientific centres on its doorstep. With its existing links to the clean energy sector, such as the Galloper Windfarm maintenance base at Harwich, it would be ideally positioned to lead on decarbonisation of the country’s energy needs, says Hutchison.

The vision has been set out jointly by business and local government leaders from Essex, Suffolk, and the wider region, and work is now underway to develop a detailed bid following the publication of the Government’s Freeports prospectus.

Chairman of the project board, George Kieffer, said: “I am excited to be leading such a professional and expert team to drive forward a bid that will attract major investment and lead to increased economic prosperity not only locally, but nationally. The area is home to some of the most deprived wards in the UK and by bringing lasting regeneration and creating new job opportunities to the region the project will support the government’s levelling-up agenda.”

Executive director of Hutchison Ports, Clemence Cheng, added: “The combination of the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich offers the UK a unique opportunity in the post-Brexit world, sitting as they do at the main junction point between the UK’s principal trade route to and from the Far East and key freight links to and from northern Europe.

“Together with the leading edge technical skills that come with the partnership with universities, including the University of Cambridge, this combination can serve as a powerful magnet to bring new investment into the UK and in particular to the area around this unique junction point.”

Detailed plans will be set out in a formal bid document.