Thames Freeport lodge bid with Government

The bid consortium promoting the Thames Freeport has lodged their comprehensive bid with the Government for a digitally-linked economic zone connecting Ford’s Dagenham engine plant, the global ports at London Gateway and Tilbury, large development employment areas and many river communities in need of regeneration.

Alongside the bid document, the team has unveiled a film outlining the vision for a Thames Freeport:

The vision was endorsed by the Government’s Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board (TEGB), Kate Willard OBE, who said: “The Thames Estuary will play a major role in the UK’s post-COVID, post-transition recovery – and a freeport is at the heart of our plans.

“It would galvanise green growth and help to level-up some of the UK’s most deprived areas. It would ensure the Estuary is able to capitalise on its existing strength as a magnet for growth through commerce, creativity and prosperity.

“It would bolster our ambition to create the greenest estuary in the world and help achieve national net zero targets. We fully support the Thames Freeport bid and we’re confident that our partners will deliver an irresistible pitch to Government.”

The TEGB is to send a letter of support to the Chancellor pressing the case for a Thames Freeport on behalf of a coalition of industrial, business and political interests from across the Thames Estuary. A ministerial decision on the successful bidders is due in the spring.

The bid headlines: 

  • £5.1 billion additional GVA
  • Over £4.5 billion in new public and private investment
  • 25,000+ new jobs with many more across supply chains, with significant investment in training and skills
  • 1,700 acres of development land – much with planning consent
  • £400 million port investment into some of the most deprived areas
  • 20% of the UK’s most deprived communities are in London and the South East
  • DP World began as a free trade zone in Jebel Ali, while Tilbury was a freeport until 2012.

Thurrock MP, Jackie Doyle-Price, said: “The Government is committed to tackling deprivation wherever it occurs. Thurrock is the ports capital of the UK, but it’s also among the country’s top 25 most skills-deprived areas. The freeport will unleash the best of the private sector to turbocharge the river communities with new and better jobs fit for the 21st century”

Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, added: “The freeport will act as a catalyst for green growth, with Dagenham at its centre. I wholeheartedly support Ford’s impressive plans for their site, alongside the greater use of the river for intra-port movements to reshape urban logistics by removing vehicles from the roads.”


Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]