Freight News, Sea

GTI to turbocharge port of Dover’s prospects

[ July 10, 2020   //   ]

The Port of Dover has revealed plans for a ‘virtual’ freeport zone in its response to the Government’s Freeports Consultation, which is due to close on 13 July.

The Global Trade and Innovation Zone (GTI) Zone will connect the Port of Dover with key manufacturing hubs alongside regeneration sites and iInitial estimates by economic consultancy Oxera suggest that by enabling just one of the regeneration sites already identified to reach its potential, the GTI Zone could support almost 10,000 jobs. Plans for the first phase of the GTI Zone will see this number increase significantly as more sites are added, creating more employment in areas around the UK where regeneration is most needed

Manufacturers will be able to access the customs, tariff and taxation benefits offered by Freeports, and complemented by a wider range of other incentives, without having to re-locate, boosting their global competitiveness and aiding post-COVID recovery, whilst also helping reduce the impact of no trade deal with the EU or any tariffs introduced after the end of the transition period.

An Exporting Works programme will help educate young people about international trade in local schools and colleges.

Companies and start-ups will be offered the chance to work alongside established international businesses, build close relationships with potential customers and access a range of services dedicated to driving export growth, including financial support and training.

By connecting existing manufacturing hubs and regeneration sites digitally as well as physically, the GTI Zone creates the possibility of developing ‘super-clusters’ with more businesses working together to further advance the UK’s global competitiveness in key economic sectors. Dover says that the GTI Zone provides a scalable freeport model that allows businesses and other public bodies to easily ‘plug in’ over time, making sure that all parts of the economy and areas most in need of regeneration have the potential to benefit. 

The port has brought together academic institutions aiming to create the UK’s first Zero Emission Logistics Corridors.  Routes between Dover and key manufacturing hubs will be used to develop and trial new electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, alongside other advanced technologies and infrastructure.  The University of Cambridge and Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University, part of the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight, will join forces with the Warwick Manufacturing Group and Kent University to focus on a range of projects designed to support achieving the Government’s goal of ‘net zero’ carbon emissions and a net-zero emission transport system by 2050. 

Dover chief executive, Doug Bannister said: “The GTI Zone maximises collaboration between the public and private sectors and cuts across traditional geographical boundaries to maximise the jobs and investment boost that Freeports can deliver. We believe the GTI Zone can be a catalyst for stronger economic recovery in the near term, as well as a catalyst for transformational economic growth over the longer term.”

He added: “The GTI Zone is specially designed to address both the challenges and opportunities set out in the consultation paper, and deliver an effective response to the new challenges presented by the COVID crisis.

Robert Hardy, commercial director of the Customs Clearance Consortium, founded by Oakland-Invicta added: “Britain’s global trade aspirations are centred on developing world leading customs and fiscal solutions that maintain border integrity whilst offering maximum flexibility and targeted incentives to drive business growth. The GTI scheme put forward by the Port of Dover not only capitalises on Dover’s unique trade and customs experience but also eases the flow of goods to and from the EU by effectively moving the border up-country through a network of satellite Freeport zones with linked corridors leading to and from the Port.

“The best way to avoid a bottle-neck is to include the entire bottle.  By enabling Brexit trucks to complete customs formalities at strategically placed Dover satellite zones, one can avoid the prospect of trucks arriving in Kent in a less than prepared state and significantly reduce the likelihood of exit border friction.”