Photo: Illustration; Courtesy of British Ports Association

UK’s largest port operators hail green freeports deal

The UK Major Ports Group (UKMP), a trade body representing the largest nine port operators in the country, has welcomed the agreement for establishing green freeports in Scotland stating that the move has been the number one ask of industry.

As part of the partnership agreement reached by the UK and Scottish governments, UK Ministers committed to provide up to £52 million (around $70.71 million) in seed funding to help establish green freeports in Scotland which is in line with funding offered to freeports across England.

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Commenting on the agreement, Tim Morris, CEO of the UK Major Ports Group, said: “It’s very welcome that the governments in London and Edinburgh have agreed a joint process for taking forward the development of Scottish green freeports. An integrated approach between both Governments has been the number one ask of industry.

“It will give green freeports a much better chance of delivering meaningful economic, environmental and social benefits. Major sea port operators are absolutely committed to developing freeports that deliver regeneration, high-quality jobs and support the transition to a net-zero economy. That’s what’s happening in England and it’s welcome that the same benefits can now be better pursued in Scotland as well.”

Current UKMPG members are Associated British Ports, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, The Bristol Port Company, DP World, Forth Ports, Hutchison Ports UK, PD Ports, Peel Ports and the Port of London Authority.

The green freeport model in Scotland adapts the UK Government’s freeport model to fit the distinct needs and interests of the country’s net-zero economy.

The idea, unveiled in January 2021, is expected to encourage the adoption of best practices for businesses and will be attached to commitments to net-zero, fair work criteria and ensuring payment of the living wage.

The agreement is also seen as an opportunity to maximise Scotland’s renewable energy sector and was embraced by the Opportunity Cromarty Firth (OCF) consortium as well as Aberdeen Harbour Board.

As informed, the next steps in the process will be set out by Ministers as soon as possible while finalised joint prospectus and joint assessment process is expected to be published in March with winning bids announced over the summer.

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