THAMES Freeport is set to receive £25 million Government funding with the potential to transform the communities that surround it, it has been revealed.

Thames Freeport, a partnership between Ford, Forth Ports Limited and DP World, was recently officially confirmed by the Government. 

Over the next 10 years, it is expected to attract £4.6 billion in new public and private investment, and create more than 21,000 new jobs in south Essex and East London.

The Rt Hon Ruth Kelly, chairman of Thames Freeport, announced the new funding to the Echo.

She said: “The big news is that we finally got the green light. That was a very exciting moment for the freeport - and while we have been pushing forward over the last couple of years, it’s still a very significant moment for us and it does a couple of things. 

“It’s allowed us to constitute our first board, but secondly the government has agreed in principle the first tranche of investment in the community with a £25 million fund to create community value.”

The schemes, which will need final approval, include multi-fuel hubs, utilizing current fuel technology like electric and future fuels such as hydrogen.

Plans are also underway to use the c2c Tilbury line to transport both freight and passengers. Shuttle buses are are also planned to connect the port with potential local workers.

The port currently has 400 vacancies and struggles to recruit with no direct transport links.

Ms Kelly said: “Local people have the opportunity to apply for these jobs and to be successful. This is really looking at high-quality and high-value jobs being created, and we’re determined that local people have the opportunity to apply and be successful in getting those jobs.”

The freeport allows raw materials to be brought into the port tax-free. They can then be turned into products which can be exported without attracting tax or they can be distributed within the UK where they are liable to a tax levy.

The freeport’s logistics park currently has 12 businesses and is expected to rapidly expand to take advantage of the tax breaks.

We passionately believe in providing unrivalled quality journalism and value for money.

With a digital subscription, you can access our exclusive, insightful and trustworthy local news from just £1 a week.

If you are not already subscribing, sign up today to get instant access to our trusted local coverage - and an ad-light experience - check what package works best for you here.