HARWICH is set to benefit from a new £150million UK-wide fund to boost trade and investment in key port areas across the country.

The government says its freeports policy, which was introduced in 2021, has attracted almost £3billion of investment which will create more than 6,000 jobs at ports including Freeport East in Harwich and Felixstowe.

A new roadmap published by the government last week includes more than 50 measures like a £150million investment opportunities fund to help freeports respond quickly to secure large investment opportunities as they arise.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Development - Harwich International PortDevelopment - Harwich International Port (Image: R G Carter)

Levelling up minister Jacob Young said: “We are already seeing the vast and undeniable opportunities that freeports are bringing, having brought in almost £3billion of investment, which will create thousands of long-term jobs in sectors of the future.

“Our action plan in the freeports delivery roadmap will maximise the potential of these communities to become centres of innovation and investment, with clear delivery timeframes to ensure rapid progress.

“Our goal is to improve lives for local people in areas historically overlooked and freeports are helping us achieve that.”

Freeports benefit from tax relief and simplified customers procedures and are aimed at encouraging economic activity, which is seen as a means of boosting global trade following Brexit.

Other measures in the government’s new roadmap include linking jobseekers to job opportunities at the freeport through Jobcentre Plus and creating an independent advisory panel for freeports.

Freeport East, which received a £25million cash injection from the government in January this year, includes two tax sites at the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port as well as four customs sites, which are set to create hundreds of jobs for the area and boost the local economy.

It has already benefitted from a £150million investment from ScottishPower to develop a project with Hutchison Ports exploring the development and construction of a hydrogen production facility at the Port of Felixstowe.

The proposals for the freeport include developing Bathside Bay in Harwich as a tax and customs site.

There are currently 11 other freeports across the UK, including seven in England, two in Wales, and two in Scotland.