Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
New hubs of business and enterprise will be opened across the UK creating thousands of jobs, regenerating communities and turbocharging Britain’s post-Brexit growth, the Government announced on 10 February.
Up to ten new innovative Freeports will be opened across the UK as the Government seeks to level up the country and seize on the opportunities leaving the EU has presented. This was the style of a news item delivered on behalf of HM Treasury.
A consultation has been launched setting out the Government’s vision for Freeports, with the aim of announcing the location of the new zones at the end of this year so they can be open for business in 2021.
It is understood that once the ten-week consultation is completed, the Government will invite sea, air and rail ports to bid for Freeport status on a competitive basis.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘Freeports will unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK as we level up. They will attract new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.
‘This is all part of our mission as an open, outward-looking country, championing global free trade with vibrant Freeports that work for all of the UK.’
Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, added: ‘We are taking back control of our trade policy, and opening every corner of the UK to opportunities across the world.
‘Freeports will unleash the potential of our historic ports, creating jobs and regenerating communities across the UK. These hubs will also deepen partnerships around the world as we restore our economic and political independence.’
Business Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, commented: ‘Freeports represent a fantastic opportunity for our businesses to increase their trade with companies from all over the world.
‘Not only will they help create jobs and level up the UK, but they underscore our commitment to championing global free trade – unleashing our country’s potential.’
Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: ‘Our new Freeports will drive forward investment and regeneration, delivering high-skilled jobs and new homes for people across the country.’
Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Jake Berry, said: ‘People across the Northern Powerhouse can look forward to a new era of jobs and prosperity unlocked by this new generation of Freeports.
‘They will unleash the potential of communities both by boosting trade with our friends across the globe and transforming surrounding areas into hotbeds of innovation where businesses will grow and create new well-paid jobs.’
Scotland Secretary Alister Jack said: ‘Freeports are a fantastic example of how Scotland and the rest of the UK can flourish outside of the EU. The opportunity to unleash the potential in our maritime, air and rail ports, regenerating communities across the UK, is too good to miss. I urge Scottish ports and partners to take part in the consultation and develop bold, ambitious plans to bid for Freeport status.
‘We want Freeports to deliver a truly UK wide regeneration and jobs boost and the UK Government will work closely with the Scottish Government to achieve this.’
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: ‘The development of Freeports will create innovation hubs across the UK, generating new ideas in a whole host of UK sectors, from customs to transport to decarbonisation.
‘A Freeport in Wales could create hundreds of jobs and facilitate significant regional economic growth. That is why I urge businesses to engage with our consultation and help us to unleash our potential in innovation, investment and growth. Working closely with the Welsh Government and businesses, we will ensure that the whole of the UK can feel the benefits.’
Freeports will boost trade, jobs and investment with a view to building innovative business clusters that benefit the local area as part of the Government’s commitment to level up every nation (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) and region.
Freeports will also offer an exciting opportunity for innovative Customs, transport and green technologies to be trialled in controlled environments, before being adopted more widely in relevant sectors of the economy.
The Government will work in close partnership with the Devolved Administrations (of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) so that all nations of the UK are able to share in the benefits of Freeports.
Benefits of the 2020 Freeports model could include:
In addition, the Government is considering tax measures that aim to:
The UK’s high standards with respect to security, safety, workers’ rights, and the environment will not be compromised, it is understood.
Coronavirus: Let’s keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing
Statement on 25 March by UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi
Note: There is a series of related links to be found at the foot of this article*
‘As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, the global maritime transport industry is playing a critical role in the response.
‘A call by the industry to all governments to keep maritime trade moving by allowing commercial ships continued access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the rapid changeover of ships’ crews should not go unheeded.
‘Around 80% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components, according to UNCTAD statistics.
‘This includes vital medical supplies, which are sorely needed at this time, and items that are necessary for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society cannot function.
Trinity House has been closely monitoring the developments of the impact of COVID-19 and has followed advice provided by HM Government.
With regard to its function as the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, the Trinity House priority is to keep staff safe while delivering its statutory functions.
The three GLAs of the UK and Ireland* are deemed essential services vital for the safety of marine navigation and the continuous flow of food, fuel, medical and hygiene supplies, along with the many other commodities upon which the nation depends daily.
In accordance with Government advice a significant majority of Trinity House personnel are now working from home where possible, but some staff are required to attend their normal workplace because of the essential nature of their work.