Stena Line and Anglesey County Council welcome freeport announcement

2023-03-30T20:14:24+00:00 March 30th, 2023|Ports|

Stena Line and Isle of Anglesey County Council expressed delight that their joint bid to establish a Freeport in Holyhead had been successful.

The Freeport status was granted by the UK and Welsh Governments, marking a significant economic boost to North Wales.

Anglesey will now benefit from Freeport status where simplified customs and trade rules will apply, providing greater incentives for investment and trade.

In future, goods entering Anglesey Freeport will not be subject to the UK’s usual tax and customs regime, supporting long-term business investment, and boosting the prosperity of Anglesey and North Wales, they said.

Research indicates that the Anglesey Freeport could:

  • create up to 13,000 high-skilled, high-wage jobs for local people over 15 years
  • increase UK GDP by £1 bill by 2030, stimulated by business investment in R&D, servicing the supply chain of new green technologies
  • increase manufacturing output across North Wales whilst working in partnership with world-class educational institutions and supporting the upskilling of communities across North Wales.

The announcement signals the beginning of the process to revitalise the GB land bridge, which has suffered a 20% reduction in trade since Brexit. The Freeport will reduce the need for hauliers to transit goods around the southern tip of the UK, a process which is both environmentally damaging and economically inefficient.

It will also accelerate the take up of sustainable energy production by building on existing net-zero initiatives on the Island’s coastline. This will bolster the County Council’s existing ‘Energy Island Programme’ and produce much-needed energy supplies for the rest of the UK.

Net zero goals will be achieved through the world’s largest consented tidal energy project.

Ian Hampton, Stena Line’s Executive Director (pictured), said: “We would like to thank the Welsh and UK Governments for granting us freeport status.  We are thrilled by this decision, which is testament to the strength and transformative potential of our bid.

“This is a significant achievement for the region, and it is an excellent opportunity to drive forward sustainable economic growth, green energy, jobs, and skills. We are delighted for the people of Anglesey and North Wales, and excited about the positive commercial prospects that can be turned into a reality.

“Work now begins to ensure that we are capitalising on the unique tax and customs arrangements gained through freeport status, to transform Anglesey into a centre for global trading excellence. To realise its potential as a world-leading economic powerhouse by facilitating trade across Wales, the rest of the UK, and internationally – bolstered by the easing of trade between the island of Ireland and the rest of the EU, via a revitalised GB landbridge.

“Today presents an enormous economic opportunity and we look forward to working with the Welsh and UK Governments to ensure the project delivers for local businesses and communities across North Wales,” he said.

Dylan Williams, Isle of Anglesey CEO, commented: “I am delighted by today’s decision, which is a historic moment for Ynys Môn. Securing Freepost status can deliver real, transformational change to communities here and across North Wales.

“It will stimulate significant long-term job creation for local people, as well as wider socio-economic benefits and supply chain developments.  This will help keep our young people in their local communities, preserving our Island’s unique character, culture and the Welsh language.

“Freeport status will also provide significant impetus for the County Council’s Energy Island Programme – which aims to see the Island become a hub for low carbon energy research and development, innovation production and servicing – and support the Council’s ambitious target of achieving net zero by 2030. Today’s decision means we are better placed than ever to realise this vision,” he said.

The Anglesey Freeport would extend 45 km from Holyhead port, covering the whole Isle of Anglesey, with four zones designated as tax or customs sites. The proposed sites are Holyhead Port (including the 213 acre former Anglesey Aluminium site and deepwater jetty), Parc Cybi, Rhosgoch and M-Sparc Science Parc.

Hampton added: “We would also like to congratulate the Celtic Freeport for their jointly successful bid in what is an exciting moment for South Wales too. These two projects will complement each other, in order to bring greater prosperity to the whole of Wales. We look forward to working alongside all partners to ensure that communities across Wales benefit from this decision.”