Up to £25million in funding to help turbocharge the Teesside Freeport has been announced by the Government this morning as it formally confirmed its commitment to the UK’s largest and first operational Freeport.

It could also see potentially tens of millions of pounds in locally retained business rates to continue to drive growth in renewables, advanced manufacturing and the chemicals and process sectors, creating thousands of jobs. 

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With its heart at Teesworks – the UK’s largest industrial zone – but covering 4,500 acres at sites right across the region, including Wilton International, Europe’s second largest petrochemical complex, and Teesside International Airport among others, the Freeport has already secured multimillion-pound investments.

Work has already begun on SeAH Wind Ltd’s £450million offshore wind monopile manufacturing facility at the Freeport that will create around 750 direct jobs and a further 1,500 during construction and in the supply chain.

The Northern Echo: The Willis Aviation plans at Teesside AirportThe Willis Aviation plans at Teesside Airport (Image: Press release)

At Teesside Airport’s Freeport, global aviation giant Willis Lease Finance Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary Willis Aviation Services Limited will create an up to £25million cutting-edge aircraft maintenance facility and state-of-the-art Jet Centre.

At Wilton International’s zone, Alkemy Capital is set to establish its £200million lithium hydroxide refinery – a key component of car batteries – and Nova Pangaea will build its first commercial bioethanol facility and headquarters to assist in sustainable aviation fuel production. AV Dawson has also invested £10million to improve its facilities at its Port of Middlesbrough Freeport.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “The Teesside Freeport, the UK’s biggest and first operational, has already welcomed its first consignment and this funding boost that comes with the final rubber stamp will go a long way in driving forward our game-changing ambitions, with its impact felt right across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

“SeAH’s mammoth offshore monopile production facility is well underway, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, with companies of all types realising the huge opportunity it presents and now looking to call our region home.

“This will help deliver thousands of good-quality, well-paid jobs and mark our region out as the only place to do business in the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of tomorrow.”

In September, the South Bank at Teesworks received a shipment of around 100 tonnes of steel, marking the first activity of a Freeport anywhere in the UK. Partners worked with local shipping and trading company Blackwood Biofuels & Logistics to deliver the cargo, bound for local manufacturing companies.

The Northern Echo: Dehenna DavisonDehenna Davison (Image: PA MEDIA)

Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison said: “Today is a historic day for Teesside and for the whole of UK, as the Teesside Freeport is officially fully up and running. 

“Teesside Freeport is already delivering for the local area and beyond – the trade hub will supply parts for the world’s biggest offshore windfarm which will create jobs and power homes. 

“We are maximising the opportunities of leaving the European Union to drive growth and boost innovation and investment in the UK.” 

It is estimated that the Freeport will create more than 18,000 new highly skilled jobs and generate billions of pounds for the region, with access to a share of £200million of government funding.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said it expects the remaining five English Freeports to join Plymouth, Solent, and Teesside in receiving final approvals shortly.