- Nissan


On 5 February, a business and public sector partnership that includes Nissan, the ports of Tyne, Blyth and Sunderland, Newcastle Airport, seven local and two combined authorities, the North East LEP, leading universities and innovation organisations, submitted a compelling bid to the Government for a freeport. A decision expected in spring 2021. 

The North East England Freeport will see the creation of a virtual free trade zone, comprising a multi-site, digitally-connected and cybersecure boundary, linking key manufacturing, development and logistics sites through a network of customs zones and/or tax sites. Our model will enable the region’s key clusters to manufacture goods cost efficiently and trade internationally, benefiting from the Enterprise Zone-style tax policies to stimulate economic development.

The incentives across our tax and customs sites will create new opportunities for growth and investment within the automotive, offshore wind, low carbon energy, logistics and advanced manufacturing fields.

The approach is the most appropriate response for the North East given its economic geography and sectoral structure. The model has been developed with the benefit  of three research studies.

Data compiled by consortium members and validated by independent economic advisers demonstrates North East England Freeport will deliver outstanding economic benefits.

These include:

  • £3.4 billion GVA across the region
  • 61,458 new jobs, of which 13,000 are highly paid ‘better’ jobs (construction, manufacturing, logistics, energy, innovation, business sectors)
  • £110,000 GVA per freeport worker, with median earnings 40%-62% higher than current regional levels
  • Total GVA uplift of c£3,000 per capita within the region
  • £2.7 billion in new regional private sector investment
  • £2.1 billion additional UK exports over 10 years


  • A Net Zero Freeport by 2030
  • Autonomous, electric vehicles and battery innovation development programmes
  • 5G rollout across North East England Freeport sites and connecting transport routes
  • Joint Freeport Working Group to ensure young and people aged 50+ maximise employment opportunities

North East England Freeport will provide a mechanism to limit friction in trade relationships on the North East’s advanced manufacturing supply chains by creating a secure system for the management of just in time and just in sequence systems outside of the UK market.  This will help ensure the stability of existing investments.

The prospect of a North East England Freeport has already attracted industrial interest, such as the proposal for the world’s greenest battery making facility in Northumberland. Britishvolt predicts this development will create 8,000 jobs.

Unemployment in the North East is significantly above the national average. The North East England Freeport provides a ‘levelling up’ opportunity. Several North East England Freeport sites are located in some of the region’s most deprived communities. The freeport will create new jobs and employability programmes will ensure that these roles are accessible to local people. The activity from these businesses will generate benefits across the region.

North East England Freeport bid partners have committed to robust and secure processes, accountability and diversity in representation on the Governing Body. Partners have made clear their intention to create more and better jobs, to maintain high standards in planning and environmental protection.

Accelerating Net Zero is fundamental to the bid.

The North East England Freeport will become a national hub for global trade and investment, a hotbed for innovation, a catalyst for sustainable economic regeneration, while minimising barriers to trade.