Business, Freight News, Logistics, Sea

Stena supports island-wide freeport bid

[ November 22, 2022   //   ]

Stena Line and Anglesey (Ynys Môn) County Council are to bid to become a Welsh freeport under plans announced by the Welsh Government.

In May, Welsh Ministers agreed to support a freeport policy for Wales following an agreement on funding with the Westminster Government.

Both governments are open to the possibility of a multi-site freeport in Wales, in recognition of Wales’ unique economic geography and the Welsh Government’s aspirations for economic development.

Both governments will remain open to the possibility of allowing more than one freeport in Wales, should they be presented with a sufficiently compelling business case.

Bids are due at the end of November and the Welsh Government will announce the winner in early spring 2023.  

Stena Line which operates the ro ro port of Holyhead has invested in a 213-acre site, which would operate alongside a number of others in the process of being selected across Anglesey.

The plan would be to establish a secure customs zone at Holyhead and other sites on Anglesey with special tax and tariff arrangements designed to attract major domestic and international investment.

Swedish-owned Stena Line is pledging major investment in Holyhead, which is the second largest ro ro port in the country saying that, if successful, it predicted that it would return to pre-Brexit levels of trade and cement the area as a hub for innovation in trade and clean energy.

The formal bid will be submitted next week to the UK and Welsh Governments. Stena added that discussions are already underway with major businesses and institutions supporting the bid and are interested in bringing investment to the freeport. The local public are also being asked to show their backing by registering their support at

The partners stated that, according to initial modelling estimates, the Anglesey Freeport would attract £1bn of investment and between 3,500 and 13,000 high-salary jobs across the region. The bid, also has the backing of 17 major businesses including Rolls Royce, Bechtel and Last Energy, along with educational partners such as Bangor University.

Stena Line chief operating officer and executive director Ian Hampton, said: “Stena Line is determined to see a transformation in investment and economic activity for the Anglesey community. We have been part of this community for over 27 years and want to see this bid succeed. We know it can bring in transformational investment, drive innovation and create high-skilled, high-wage, high-value jobs. It can cement the region as a hub of global trading excellence.

“The freeport has many different elements. As well as manufacturing hub it can become a world leader in blue innovation, help the realise the successful vision of the Energy Island Programme and we want to see the establishment of World Customs Academy on the Ynys Môn.”

Deputy leader of the council, Carwyn Jones, said: “A freeport would be a key pillar in creating long term, sustainable economic development on the Island and across the Region. Too many of our people, particularly our young people, feel they need to leave the Island to get decent jobs and a secure future. We want that to change, and it can.”

MP for Ynys Môn, Virginia Crosbie, predicted that the Anglesey freeport would be an economic engine room which will entice new investment and deliver modern opportunities for the North Wales economy, and I’ve been delighted to meet with so many local and international businesses who are united in their support for the freeport. It’s clear that without freeport status, the potential for Anglesey to benefit from business investment would be at risk, and damage the opportunities which could be afforded to our communities.

“I’m determined to do all I can to work with the bidding parties to ensure my constituents benefit from this once in a generation opportunity – turbocharging our local economy and ensuring Anglesey remains a sustainable powerhouse.”