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Freeport East confirmed by chancellor

Freeport East was one of eight new Freeports announced today (3 March 2021) by Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his budget speech.

Reacting to the news, George Kieffer, Chairman of the Freeport East Project Board, said:

“We are delighted to have been chosen by the Chancellor as one of the first new Freeports in the UK for a number of years. Freeport East offers a unique opportunity to build a truly global trade hub at the same time as accelerating opportunities in green energy and helping level-up the economy. We look forward to working with Government to further develop our business plan and to realising the potential that this opportunity represents.”

Freeport East will be centred upon the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port. Clemence Cheng, Executive Director of Hutchison Ports, which owns both ports, said:

“Freeport East is the perfect location to develop a new Freeport. Its position on the main global shipping routes, and with frequent services over to Europe, makes it the ideal place to attract inward investment. It has 50% of the UK’s offshore wind capacity on its doorstep and, working with our partners we will help drive developments in green energy for use in the transport sector as well as across the wider economy.”

Freeport East is already working with Ryse-Hydrogen and EDF, operators and developers of the nearby Sizewell nuclear power station, to develop a Hydrogen Hub

Jo Bamford, Executive Chairman of Ryse-Hydrogen said:

“The PM has said the UK will be ‘putting a big bet on hydrogen’ and the Budget’s green light for the Freeport East Hydrogen Hub is a major step towards delivering on these words. The Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will support the creation of thousands of green jobs and feature innovative uses in hydrogen for zero emissions buses, construction equipment, marine and agriculture. Crucially, these UK-made Net Zero technologies can be in use within 12 months and will place East Anglia at the forefront of the global hydrogen economy”.

Julia Pyke, Finance director of Sizewell C, added:

“This is a great step forward for the East of England. The Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will deliver on six parts of the PM’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. The Chancellor’s commitment to Freeport East will now turbo-charge private investment in Net Zero nuclear and hydrogen technology across East Anglia and support the development of one of the world’s most exciting and innovative decarbonisation projects.

“We will now develop our hydrogen offering in close cooperation with the port and with the Suffolk councils in order to get national competitive advantage by pursuing things at scale and speed.”

Freeport East is centred upon the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port, both operated by Hutchison Ports, part of the CK Hutchison group. Other partners include South East and New Anglia LEPs, Suffolk and Essex county councils, East Suffolk Council and Tendring District Council. It is backed by a wide range of businesses, business organisations and education providers.


More information about Freeport East can be found at its website, www.freeporteast.com, or by following @FreeportEast on Twitter.

For further information on this news release contact Will Lodge, Communications Manager at Tendring District Council in the first instance, on 01255 686338 or wlodge@tendringdc.gov.uk.

Notes to editors

Freeport partnership:

The Freeport East partnership includes Hutchison Ports UK, Harwich Haven Authority, Haven Gateway Partnership, New Anglia and South East Local Enterprise Partnerships, Suffolk and Essex County Councils, East Suffolk Council, Mid Suffolk, Babergh and Tendring District Councils.

The agreed vision is:

A Global Freeport for the 21st Century, the combined strength and unrivalled size of Felixstowe and Harwich provides the perfect Gateway between Britain and the rest of the world. With its strong and unique transport connections, this Freeport gives as much benefit to the Midlands and Northern Powerhouse of the UK as it does to the East of England through its unparalleled access to the wider world. Already the UK’s biggest container port, with deep sea and European Ro-Ro services, the Freeport East will grow further through shovel-ready sites and an ongoing pipeline of land to become an innovation testbed for cutting-edge port technology and clean energy. Through its links with world-class research-intensive universities and global digital innovators, this Freeport will develop emission-free Smart Port benefits for all – enabling the UK to meet the Government’s carbon agenda for ports earlier than 2050 to become a leader on the world stage.

The Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port:

The Port of Felixstowe is the UK’s largest container port – accounting for 40% of container imports to, and exports from the UK, handling 4 million TEUs each year – with excellent road links and the best rail connections of any port to the Midlands and the North of England.

Harwich International Port on the Essex side of the estuary is a major ferry terminal with twice daily services to the Netherlands and a dedicated passenger rail station with frequent services to London. Harwich is also the operations and maintenance base for the Galloper Windfarm, part of the Suffolk and North Essex Energy Coast, and Trinity House in Harwich is the research centre for the UK’s General Lighthouse Authorities.

Both ports are members of Hutchison Ports, the port and related services division of CK Hutchison Holdings Limited (CK Hutchison). Hutchison Ports is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator with a network of port operations in 53 ports spanning 27 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia. Over the years, Hutchison Ports has expanded into other logistics and transportation-related businesses, including cruise ship terminals, airport operations, distribution centres, rail services and ship repair facilities.