Teesside free port backed by new PM Boris Johnson

While a no deal Brexit is a daunting prospect for much of the country, many in Teesside see it as an opportunity to revitalise the region’s industry with a free port.

Without the operational, regulatory, and custom requirements of Europe, a free port could be established in the Tees Valley. It would take the form of a designated zone where goods can enter tariff-free, be processed or manufactured, then re-exported.

It is estimated to create 40,000 jobs in the region by 2040.

The most vocal supporter of this plan is Ben Houchen, the Conservative elected mayor of Tees Valley: “If we get this right we could see the reshoring of manufacturing jobs that we haven’t seen for decades.”

During his recent Conservative leadership campaign, Boris Johnson was eager to encourage the proposal: “I will do everything I can to boost investment and economic success […] and taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by leaving the EU on 31 October to introduce free ports is an excellent way to boost businesses and trade in regions that Westminster has neglected to pay attention to for far too long.”

Now that Mr Johnson finds himself as Prime Minister, the free port scheme has powerful backing.

ElringKlinger, a German-owned car parts manufacturer, said the Tees Valley free port could offer many opportunities to partner with other companies to import parts and export completed products. Currently situated in Redcar, the company supplies Ford, BMW, and Jaguar Land Rover. Speaking to the Financial Times, Glen Pearson, the general manager of the plant, said: “It could influence time and cost. It would give us flexibility and reduce delivery lead times or receiving lead times.”

Many other ports and airports are expected to bid for free port status, including Newcastle’s Port of Tyne.

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