THE Thames Freeport has officially reached the impressive milestone of attracting £600million of private sector investment and created 1,000 jobs in its first two years, it has been revealed.

UK Investment Minister Lord Johnson visited the freeport – which stretches across London Gateway, Tilbury port and Dagenham Engine Plant – highlighting the extensive opportunities for businesses to locate at the site.

The 1,000 jobs have been created as a direct result of the huge investment, and represents the first of up to 21,000 jobs being created at the freeport.

The freeport is providing a huge boost to Thurrock Council, with funding from business rates from the port expected to boost the cash-strapped council’s coffers by hundreds of thousands of pounds.

It is also providing a wider boost to south Essex with jobs going to residents based across the region.

Martin Whiteley, chief executive at Thames Freeport, said: “Thames Freeport is a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity to stimulate trade, drive innovation, support energy transition, and transform the lives of people in London and the boroughs to its east and we are delighted to receive this latest endorsement from the UK Government.

“With 18 million people on its doorstep, Thames Freeport is closer than any other enterprise zone to Europe’s largest and most economically important consumer market, with unrivalled global connectivity to 130 ports in over 65 countries.”

Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply, such as extra business rates retention and tax incentives to help business thrive.

Mr Whiteley added: “Thames Freeport offers outstanding financial incentives to businesses which locate there, potentially equivalent to 50 per cent of the investment. These include no stamp duty on land purchases, savings on employer national insurance contributions, a five-year business rates holiday and generous capital allowances on investment.”

Lord Johnson, minister of state in the department for business, added: “UK Freeports represents a generational shift in UK competitiveness, creating perfect places for businesses to innovate and grow. It is fantastic to see Thames Freeport already realising their vision of a global hub for trade and investment into advanced manufacturing, clean technologies, and future logistics.”