TEES Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has officially launched the Teesside Freeport after Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP gave the final green-light in his Budget yesterday.

The Teesside Freeport will begin operating from early November, making it the first one to be up and running in the UK.

At an event at Wilton Engineering, Mayor Houchen revealed the logo and branding for the new freeport, developed by Middlesbrough-based branding agency Better.

The freeport will help businesses benefit from a wide package of tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures, streamlined planning processes to boost redevelopment and government support to promote regeneration and innovation.

The Teesside Freeport is the UK’s biggest, with sites operating right across the region – including at Teesworks, Wilton Engineering, Teesside International Airport, the Port of Middlesbrough, the Port of Hartlepool, Liberty Steel, LV Shipping and Teesport – providing a boost to the whole of the Tees Valley.  

Freeport Director Nolan Gray told The Northern Echo: "The work to get us to this stage has been going on for a long time and it is fantastic that so many people have collaborated on it.

"To create a freeport, all the local stakeholders have to come together, but also a multitude of Government departments. It has been fast-paced with some long nights, but the passion of everybody motivates us all the time.

"By pulling everything together and be able to show investors we are working together things start happenng very quickly. The freeport is targeting three specific clusters, one of which is Chemicals and Materials processing, so to be able to add the amazing news about Sabic's Investment was phenomenal."

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The freeport is expected to create 18,000 jobs over the next five years and drive billions into the region’s economy and Ben Houchen said: “After years of campaigning for freeports to be introduced into the UK, and for Teesside to be the first post-Brexit, I’m delighted that today we have made that ambition a reality.

“Of course, this is only the beginning of the game-changing freeport, set to create thousands upon thousands of good-quality, well-paid jobs that local people are crying out for while driving growth and investment, ultimately putting more money in people’s pockets.

“But this is about much more than just Teesworks. It will have sites in every corner of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool including Wilton Engineering.

“By spreading the benefits, it will ensure each and every community will feel the impact from the jobs the freeport will create, the investment it will drive and the regeneration it will enable.”

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Mark Easby, Managing Director at Better, said: “As an agency with its heart in Tees Valley, we understand the significance of the freeport and the opportunities it will create for our area. This is another significant moment in the history of Better and, alongside our recent work on Teesworks, we believe we've built a brand that will play a major role across the Tees region for years to come and will symbolise a catalyst for further change.”

Jacob Young MP said: “Teesside led the world in the first industrial revolution. What started on the banks of the Tees changed the world. Now, thanks to our Freeport, we can do the same again. This will bring thousands of jobs to Redcar and the Tees Valley in the clean industries of the future. In offshore wind, green energy, hydrogen and life sciences.
“This is the biggest opportunity for our region since Henry Bolckow looked up at Eston hills and said, ‘You know what? I reckon there’s iron in there’.”


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