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International Trade Committee examines Government's plan to introduce free ports

3 September 2019

On Wednesday, the Committee will take evidence on the Government's proposals to create up to ten free ports throughout the UK after Brexit. 

What are free ports?

Free ports – sometimes called free zones – are government-designated areas where goods can be imported, manufactured and exported without being subject to a country's usual tariffs and export/import procedures. The International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss MP, has argued that free ports will transform towns and cities across the UK and create thousands of jobs.

Advisory panel

The Secretary of State has set up an advisory panel to advise on the establishment of free ports. The group of trade and shipping experts is intended to help facilitate the International Trade Secretary's ambition to create “the world's most advanced” free port model.

Tomorrow's session will feature Tim Morris, CEO of UK Major Ports Group and a member of the Government's Freeports Advisory Panel, Neil Davidson, Senior Analyst on Ports and Terminals at Drewry, a maritime research consultancy, and Geoff Lippitt, the Group Commercial Director for PD Ports.  PD Ports notably owns and operates Teesport, which was identified by Liz Truss as “ahead of the game” in becoming a free port. 

Chair's comments

Chair of the Committee, Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, said: 

“Boris Johnson has placed free ports at the heart of his vision for post-Brexit international trade. 

“Some see free ports as a way of stimulating economic activity by creating jobs and reducing bureaucracy, while others consider their potential to be limited and believe they will simply redistribute, rather than encourage, economic activity. 

“My Committee will assess the feasibility, risks and benefits of the Government's proposals. If the Government wishes to establish free ports in the UK, it is essential that its decisions are based on sound evidence.” 


Wednesday 4 September 2019, Room 5, Palace of Westminster

At 11am:

  • Neil Davidson, Senior Analyst – Ports and Terminals, Drewry 
  • Geoff Lippitt, Group Commercial Director, PD Ports 
  • Tim Morris, CEO of UK Major Ports Group and member of the Government's Free Ports Advisory panel

Further information

Image: Unsplash