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DP World announces a new 119,000 sq ft warehouse to be built as Thames freeport expansion continues

DP World continue to push forward with expansion at the Thames freeport.

Following an announcement in November that the OASIS group will be taking on the long-term lease of a new 108,973 sq ft distribution hub in London Gateway, DP World have confirmed the fast-track construction of a second, 119,000 sq ft warehouse this year.

DP World’s expansion of warehousing space follows a surge in demand since the declaration of the Thames freeport in March 2021, which became operational in November 2021.

This new facility is due to begin construction in Spring 2022, and be ready for occupation by the end of October 2022. 

What is a freeport?

Freeports are port areas that offer tax relief on certain commodities, allowing for raw materials to be imported, worked, and re-exported without incurring duties. 

To add incentive to businesses considering using freeports, there can also be lower employment tax. However, this has not yet been confirmed for U.K. freeports.

Until Brexit, freeports in the U.K. needed approval from the EU as part of their customs territory. Since Brexit, the U.K has had control of the freeport eligibility criteria and proceeded with implementing these at key locations in the U.K.

(If you need to know more on customs regulations since Brexit, download a free Brexit pack)

The Thames freeport is 1 of 8 announced in England, with the other locations being at:

– East Midlands Airport
– Felixstowe and Harwich (Freeport East)
– Humber
– Liverpool City
– Plymouth
– Solent
– Teeside

Scotland, Wales, and Ireland are also due to have freeports established, but the sites have not yet been confirmed.

In addition to the freeport planned by the U.K. Government, Scotland are also working to establish a green port. This is similar to the freeport model, but there are additional criteria that businesses must meet in order to get the benefits. 

For example, businesses that wish to obtain green port benefits would need to match the living wage (instead of the minimum wage), demonstrate good employee care, and have more carbon-friendly work practices.

Westminister have held the position that Scotland should use the freeport model, in line with the rest of the U.K. which has caused friction over the plans for freeports in Scotland

Where is the Thames freeport?

The Thames freeport includes Ford Dagenham, London Gateway, and the Port of Tilbury, an area that allows easy access to consumer markets in the London and South East areas.

In addition to the additional warehousing space, DP World’s plans for expansion include building a 4th berth in London Gateway. The additional resource, along with the suspended customs taxes for the freeport, provide opportunity for increased manufacturing trade to the area.

Freeport East and Solent Freeport are the second closest freeports to London at circa 90 miles away.

Do you need advice on freeports? 

UK Customs Solutions and the rest of the Customs Support Group are experts in customs procedures in the U.K. and the EU. 

If you need further information on the Thames freeport, or want to discuss the opportunities that freeports across Europe could offer, please contact one of our experts today. 

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