The Thames estuary economic zone celebrates £600m of investment in first two years with ministerial visit

Thames Freeport is an economic zone located on the Thames estuary

Thames Freeport is an economic zone located on the Thames estuary

Image: Adobe Stock

Thames Freeport is celebrating £600m of private sector investment committed to the project in its first two years, which is resulting in the creation of over 1,000 news jobs throughout the region.

Given the go ahead in March 2023 to start operating, Thames Freeport is an economic zone with 1,700 acres of development land located in the Thames Estuary - connecting Ford’s Dagenham engine plant and the global ports at DP World’s London Gateway and Forth Ports’ Tilbury.

A partnership between Ford, Forth Ports Limited and DP World, Thames Freeport is expected to ultimately see a total of over £4.6 billion in new public and private investment, and the creation of over 21,000 new jobs and many more across supply chains.

On a visit to meet the Thames Freeport partners last week, UK investment minister Lord Johnson highlighted the extensive opportunities for businesses to locate at the site following its launch by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP in 2021.

This latest £600m investment represents the funds committed by the partners and tenants over the last 24 months. Some 1,000 jobs are being created as a direct result, the first of a total 21,000 people who will be employed at the freeport.

Thames Freeport and Verizon, a global leader in telecommunications, have also announced their intention to launch a 5G ‘Innovation Network’ at the site, accelerating digital solutions and bolstering logistics and manufacturing operations at London Gateway and Tilbury, unlocking wider benefits for the region.

Lord Johnson, minister of state in the Department for Business, said: “UK Freeports represents a generational shift in UK competitiveness, creating perfect places for businesses to innovate, collaborate and grow. It is fantastic to see Thames Freeport already realising their vision of a global hub for trade and investment into advanced manufacturing, clean technologies, and future logistics.

“The significant investment received to date is testament to the Freeport’s outstanding offer to business, and will bring a boost of new, skilled jobs to this region. Now is the opportune moment for businesses to seize this opportunity and I look forward to seeing what more Thames Freeport brings to the UK economy in the coming years.”

Martin Whiteley, chief executive at Thames Freeport, said: “Thames Freeport is a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity to stimulate trade, drive innovation, support energy transition, and transform the lives of people in London and the boroughs to its east and we are delighted to receive this latest endorsement from the UK Government.

“With 18 million people on its doorstep, Thames Freeport is closer than any other enterprise zone to Europe’s largest and most economically important consumer market, with unrivalled global connectivity to 130 ports in over 65 countries,” Whiteley added.

Thames Freeport offers financial incentives to businesses which locate there, potentially equivalent to 50 per cent of the investment. These include no stamp duty on land purchases, savings on employer national insurance contributions, a five-year business rates holiday and generous capital allowances on investment.