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Thurrock port operators unveil bid to create Thames Freeport

20,000 new jobs could be created if the plans are approved (credit: DP World and Forth Ports)

Thurrock’s two largest port operators have unveiled a joint bid to create a Thames Freeport. 

DP World and Forth Ports are applying for freeport status to be granted to the Port of Tilbury, London Gateway, and Ford’s Dagenham engine plant. 

If the bid is approved, the sites would benefit from tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, and a streamlined planning process to boost redevelopment. 

Both operators claim the special economic measures would create 20,000 new jobs and secure £400 million in port infrastructure which would reportedly lead to a doubling of port capacity. 

“The zone will be a catalyst for commerce, creativity, and prosperity,” a spokesperson for DP World and Forth Ports said. 

“For example, Ford plans to build on its advanced technology capabilities to electrify, connect, and automate vehicle solutions in-and-around the freeport to reduce pollution and ease congestion.”

The bid will be assessed in March (credit: DP World and Forth Ports) 

Both operators also claim there are roughly 1,000 acres of land ready for development and much of it already has planning consent. 

The MP for Thurrock, Jackie Doyle Price, previously spoke in favour of the plans in the House of Commons: 

“I very much hope that the Government will give their full support to the Thames estuary freeport, not least because for decades, successive Governments tried to get the Thames estuary moving as an economic entity.

“That never quite worked because we in south Essex do not really like being told what to do by people from London. We like to control our own destiny and that is exactly what we have done. 

“Our freeport will be the catalyst to make that happen and I look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the Thames estuary freeport underlines Thurrock’s position as the port capital of the UK.”

The bid will be assessed in March 2021, with a final decision to be made in Spring. 

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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