A multi-billion pound bid for an ambitious air, sea and rail economic zone on the River Clyde — supported by a large public private partnership — is being finalised.
Plans for Clyde Green Freeport are being prepared by AGS Airports’ Glasgow Airport, Peel Ports’ Clydeport, Mossend International Railfreight Park in North Lanarkshire and a partnership of the Glasgow City Region councils.
The bid will be submitted later this month to the Scottish and UK governments for one of two green freeports in Scotland.
A green freeport is a large, zoned area within a defined boundary which includes a rail, sea or airport.
Businesses in the zone can benefit from a package of tax and other incentives.
The backers of the Clyde Green Freeport bid said the “multimodal” initiative would “attract major new investment to Glasgow City Region, develop global trading opportunities, create tens of thousands of new jobs, accelerate net zero objectives agreed at COP26, and take the region’s innovation economy to the next level.”
The backers said Clyde Green Freeport would “maximise the area’s transport network and facilities at Glasgow Airport, the freight interchange at Mossend, Bellshill and four deep-water ports on the River Clyde …
“It would also make significant progress towards decarbonising the area’s transport infrastructure.”
Kevin Rush, Director of Regional Economic Growth for Glasgow City Region, said: “As Scotland’s economic powerhouse, Glasgow City Region is uniquely positioned to create a highly successful green Freeport to put the country at the forefront of global trade and decarbonisation.
“We have everything necessary to make a successful bid: unrivalled connectivity across the UK and beyond; one of the most educated populations in the UK; a GVA of £47.3 billion and 33% of Scotland’s GDP; three world-class innovation districts; home to internationally acclaimed universities and research institutes; and renowned business expertise across key sectors of aerospace, advanced engineering, manufacturing, maritime and medical.
“Glasgow City Region is at the heart of the Scottish economy, providing almost 30% of the country’s business base and 34% of its jobs.
“As well as the enormous economic boost and competitive advantage a successful bid would bring to Glasgow City Region, it would also support enterprise, regeneration and trade across the rest of Scotland and the UK.”
James McSporran, Port Director at Peel Ports’ Clydeport, said: “With its origins on the Clyde going back to 1858 initially as Clyde Navigation trust, Clydeport has been a mainstay of supporting industry by importing and exporting goods growing to 1 million tonnes of cargo from its KGV facility to 60,000 containers moving through Greenock.
“It remains a significant player in the development of the Clyde industrial growth and is central to the Clyde Green Freeport bid initiative, providing not only the means to service the local markets but to allow a global reach through in house connectivity to other UK ports such as Liverpool and Medway.”
Andrew Stirling of Peter D Stirling Ltd and Mossend International Railfreight Park Director, said: “Along with our partners, we’re in a very good position at Mossend to deliver this bid with our existing electric rail infrastructure and plans for our all electric rail freight terminal and freight park, all to be operated using alternative energies that put Scotland at the forefront in the UK for championing zero-carbon rail freight.”
Ronald Leitch, operations director at Glasgow Airport, said: “We are excited to be part of the Clyde Green Freeport bid.
“As the industrial powerhouse of Scotland, the Glasgow City Region is the natural home for a Freeport which will stimulate jobs, increase trade, attract new companies and make it easier for existing ones to export their goods and services.
“Already home to British Airways, Rolls Royce, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and Boeing, becoming a Freeport will unlock huge development potential at the airport cluster and bolster the west of Scotland’s global reputation as a centre of excellence for aerospace and advanced manufacturing.
“Designation will also position Glasgow at the forefront of decarbonising air travel by accelerating investment in net-zero infrastructure.”
Full details of the Clyde Green Freeport bid are being kept under wraps until after the bid is submitted later in June.