Business leaders across the region welcome bid to create North West Freeport

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and local business leaders have welcomed the City Region’s bold bid to create a multi-gateway, multi-modal Freeport that will enable key sites across the Liverpool City Region to attract new investment, create jobs, support the wider economy, and increase levels of innovation.

The bid, actively supported and formally endorsed by the Liverpool City Region LEP, builds on the City Region’s proud maritime history and unique position as a Western facing port with established Transatlantic and Irish Sea trade links.

The designation of three ‘tax sites’ in distinct locations (Parkside in St Helens, Wirral Waters and 3MG in Halton) will represent a major opportunity to attract a range of investment and facilitate new job creation as well as strengthening the region’s position as an attractive location for global trade, inward investment and innovation, whilst at the same time building on the City Region’s manufacturing capability in automotive, biomanufacturing and chemicals.

Such a development also has the potential for future opportunities in hydrogen, offshore wind and tidal power, ensuring the City Region becomes a focal point of the Government’s Net Zero ambitions and a global beacon for investment in renewable technologies.

Welcoming the bid, Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of the Liverpool City Region LEP (pictured) said, “The LEP is delighted to be supporting the City Region’s application to become one of 10 UK Freeport Zones. The LEP has worked closely with local business to help shape the bid and ensure it reflects the current and future needs of industry as well protecting critical supply chains in the future.

“Local business has been extremely energetic in engaging in the process of developing the application as well as providing letters of support for the bid. This has been a fantastic example of what can happen when the public and private sector work together on a shared ambition.”

The LCR Freeport bid attracted over 40 letters of support from local businesses keen to “back the bid” as well as receiving support from local Chambers, Trade Associations, Universities and Further Education.

Chris Shirling-Rooke MBE, CEO Mersey Maritime (pictured) said, “As the body that represents the maritime sector for the North West it’s clear to us there would be no better example of the Government delivering on its own levelling up agenda within coastal communities, than by supporting the creation of a Freeport trading zone in Liverpool City Region. With innovation, the environment, job creation and growth at its core, this project is truly unique showing not only the incredible assets and potential of our region, but also our boundless optimism and unshackled aspiration.”

Philippa Glover, Managing Director at CNC Robotics Ltd said, “CNC Robotics fully supports the submission of the LCR Freeport bid. The freeport has the potential to further showcase the City Region as a hotbed of innovation which is vital for growing SME’s like CNC Robotics working in advanced technologies.

“Attracting large primes into the Freeport would give companies like CNC Robotics the opportunity to develop new partnerships and trading opportunities.” 

Roy Barry, Partners at Brabners said, “Now more than ever unlocking the potential of the North of England feels critical to the future success of UK plc as a whole. 

The acumen of our business community, the existing logistics networks and the local talent pool present an outstanding collective vehicle through which to drive prosperity in a post-Brexit landscape and support the government’s pledge to level up the economy.

“Central to this proposition is international trade which is essential to how we steer UK plc out of the current economic downturn and the North must be where central government chooses to focus and stimulate investment for the next decade and beyond. Freeports are exactly the type of support that will empower the region and why Liverpool must be selected.”

Graham Bond, RSM’s office managing partner in Liverpool, said, “The Liverpool City Region Freeport offers a vision for the future in which Liverpool will be at the heart of global trade and inward investment – unlocking new jobs and innovation for Merseyside and the wider region. 

“The plans look to deliver a strong economic future for Liverpool City Region whilst supporting businesses across the North, which is why we are supporting the proposal.”

The Liverpool City Region Freeport proposition is focussed on meeting the core freeport objectives set out by Government: to establish a national hub for global trade and investment, promote regeneration and job creation and sustain a hotbed of innovation. 

The LCR Freeport bid was submitted on Friday 5 February to Treasury and the successful Freeport bids going through to the next stage will be announced in March.