Richard Parkinson

is ideal for medium-sized vessels on shorter sea routes to and from mainland Europe, as well as cargo vessels from around the world,” he explained.

Parkinson expects Solent Gateway and the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, which will comprise the freeport, to provide healthy competition that benefits customers but emphasised that each of the three has distinct specialisations, so they also complement each other. “Solent Gateway can provide the extra capacity to take certain types of trade that might otherwise not come here, so the Solent region will develop as an even more competitive transport hub,” he said.

Commercial activity at Solent Gateway has been steadily building up over the past two years. Parkinson and his team are currently negotiating with a number of businesses, including some involved in the sustainable energy industry, to locate new facilities in the port.

“As a customs site, businesses will be able to store goods as long as they want and it will be well-suited for light industrial manufacturing and assembly. There are tax benefits from being a freeport tax site plus financial incentives for new business start-ups,” he said. “It’s the perfect site to import, manufacture, assemble and then export, or import into the UK. You can manufacture, store and go. Now is the perfect time for anyone interested in setting up a new operation in a freeport tax site or customs site, as we can Peter Taylor MAY/JUNE 2021 13

include your requirements in our port development plans.”

Based on the predicted amount of storage space, warehousing and facilities that will be developed by new businesses, Solent Gateway expects around 1,100 new jobs will be created by businesses locating

there, in addition to the company’s 100-strong workforce. “Solent Gateway is investing around £60 million and, once the port is fully functional, we expect that additional private sector investment will take this to at least £300 million,” he said.

Richard Parkinson DP World commits to £40 million transformation

Like Solent Gateway, logistics provider DP World Southampton is putting serious investment behind the freeport development. It has already committed £40m to take its operations at the Port of Southampton to the next level as an international freight and logistics hub.

Ernst Schulze, chief executive of DP World in the UK, said: “DP World Southampton is the most productive port in Britain, turns container

trucks around faster than any of its competitors and at 30% also has the highest proportion of its containers moved by rail.”

He added: “Our aim is to partner in our customers’ business success and we are already seeing a surge of interest from companies which want to take advantage of the customs zone and tax benefits resulting from Southampton becoming a freeport.”

Ernst Schulze

For more information on the Solent Gateway development visit the website:

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