A significant number of strong freeports bids had been submitted to the Treasury Department by the government’s noon Friday 5 February deadline.
As of 00.01h GMT on 5 February, bids involving seaport and/or airport operators in Thames, Kent, Suffolk, the Humber, Tees, West Wales, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, Cumbria, Merseyside, Avon/Somerset and the Solent areas had come in. The deadline for bids to be submitted to the UK Treasury Department was 12.00h GMT, 5 February.
Commenting before bidding closed, Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group (some of whose members are involved in bids), said: “It looks like bidders have risen to the challenge issued by the government to deliver bids that offer real potential for stronger global gateways for trade, to boost prosperity and opportunity for coastal communities and that drive innovation.
“They also demonstrate commitment to high standards and growing social value. The challenge is now back to the government to assess fairly and in a considered manner a significant number of strong but quite different bids.”
Morris continued: “The government now has before it a significant number of strong, but quite different freeport bids from across England. It now has the challenge to assess these bids. A number of things are essential in the coming weeks and months:
“Many port operators, together with local stakeholders, have submitted detailed and wide ranging freeports proposals. For industry and potential investors, it is crucial that the process for becoming a freeport is fair, transparent and evidence-based.”