Low tax and regulation zone Freeport East has been given the green light and is set to be operational by the end of the year.

The plans to unify the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port were submitted in March, with the scheme hoping to create up to 13,500 jobs over the next 10 years, as well as an additional 1.3 million tonnes of international trade volume and £66.4 million in extra goods and services.

The new freeport zone will incorporate both ports aforementioned, along with the planned Gateway 14 scheme in Stowmarket, set to be the largest business park in East Anglia, comprised of 2.36 million sq ft of warehouse space.

Phil Dennis from Savills said, “Occupiers who come here will be able to benefit from unique savings of business rates relief for about five years, stamp duty relief on land purchases.”

Sir Bernard Jenkin, Conservative MP for Harwich and North Essex MP said “The location of a lot of new economic activity associated with a freeport will be very good for jobs in Harwich which is otherwise quite a deprived part of the UK,”

The scheme is proving controversial, with some applauding it and awaiting its benefits, whilst others remain more sceptical.

Prof Catherine Barnard from the University of Cambridge said “If you are living in Felixstowe you can say freeports are very good news, but not if you are living in Great Yarmouth. Freeports operate a bit like a vacuum cleaner and they suck in business to freeports because of the tax advantages and customs advantages. If you’re outside the area you’ll lose out.”

It is hoped the new Freeport will start operations on December 30.

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