Chief Secretary launches consultation on freeports at ABP’s Port of Southampton

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Image Caption (left to right): ABP Southampton Director Alastair Welch; Chief Secretary to the Treasure, Rishi Sunak MP; ABP Chief Commercial Officer, Julian Walker

ABP has welcomed Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, to the Port of Southampton for the launch of the Government’s consultation on freeports.

The announcement marks the next phase in the development of freeports, which have the potential to boost trade and economic growth in regions around the country.

During the visit, the Chief Secretary met with ABP senior leadership to discuss the role ABP’s ports could play in delivering the policy.

Several ABP ports offer large areas of development land close to deep water, ideal for facilitating the efficient import of raw materials, components and export of finished products. Freeports can enhance these advantages, making the sites even more attractive for investment in new manufacturing.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak MP, said: “Visiting the great port of Southampton brought home to me why our mission to boost every part of the UK is so crucial. Freeports will unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK. They will attract new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.

“This is all part of being an open, outward-looking country, championing global free trade with vibrant Freeports that work for all of the UK. I urge Southampton and other all ports across the country to start preparing their Freeport applications, ready for the competitive process which will follow our 10 week consultation.”

ABP has been a strong supporter of freeports since the publication of Rishi Sunak’s paper The Free Ports Opportunity in 2016.

ABP Chief Commercial Officer, Julian Walker, said: “ABP welcomes the Government’s announcement of a consultation on developing freeports. We believe that freeports can increase the ability of ports to drive trade and economic growth by boosting the UK’s manufacturing base and exports. Our ports in Southampton, on the Humber and in South Wales offer ideal locations for port centric manufacturing and this policy can help turn this ambition into reality.”

The consultation will gather expert views from across industry and is due to run until 20 April 2020.