A freeport bid consortium consisting of Associated British Ports, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven has been launched to explore the case for a green freeport in South-West Wales.
The consortium say that both Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire have exciting, shared opportunities for nationally significant energy infrastructure to support the development of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, hydrogen and sustainable fuels.
Combining this potential with the region’s skill base, existing facilities and proximity to key markets offers a compelling argument for a potential freeport bid.
The consortium say that a South-West Wales freeport would bring together the ports of Port Talbot and Milford Haven to unlock the widest possible opportunity for Wales and for the UK by accelerating investment and fast-tracking modern skills development for new green industries. It would strengthen export opportunities while supporting Welsh and UK Governments’ ambitions to drive economic growth.
The Welsh and UK Governments have jointly designed a freeport model to deliver three objectives, which must be met by applicants:
- Promote regeneration and high-quality job creation;
- Establish the freeport as a national hub for global trade and investment across the economy;
- Foster an innovative environment.
The consortium say they will work with established and emerging industry representatives, unions, academics and other key stakeholders to map out the full opportunity and create a compelling case for a South-West Wales joint freeport bid grounded in green economic growth. This accelerated investment pathway and modern skills programmes will enable local communities to share in the substantial benefits of green freeport growth.
Bids must be submitted by 24 November 2022. The successful bid will be announced in early spring 2023, with the freeport being established by summer 2023.
Lead image: Port Talbot Docks (Image: Neath Port Talbot Council)
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