Caption: A large ship travelling down the River Tees from Teesport
Solomons Europe's Managing Director Dominic Doig has penned a letter in support of the bid for the Teesworks site to become a Freeport.
In a passionate appeal, Dominic argues the status would accelerate the ambitious plans for Teesworks – the UK’s largest industrial zone.
The Government aims to establish at least seven new Freeports in England, with the first expected to be in place in 2021. The bidding process – which started last month – runs until February 5.
Below is Dominic’s letter to Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, who is spearheading the Teesworks bid.
I am writing to express my wholehearted support for the bid for Teesworks to become a new Freeport under the Government’s Freeports initiative.
As you well know, Teesworks has huge potential to transform the social and economic fortunes of the Teesside region – creating thousands of jobs and providing SME businesses such as Solomons Europe with a fantastic opportunity to develop and grow.
As a business with long-established and strong roots in Teesside and a passion to see it flourish, we want to see the site’s full potential not only realised but exceeded.
I firmly believe that Freeport status will accelerate the ambitions plans you and others have for the site.
The generous tax reliefs, simplified customs procedures and promise of continued Government support offered by Freeport status would all combine to make Teesworks a highly attractive place for investors and developers along with those who will ultimately manufacture and operate on the site.
The resulting projects will, in turn, create countless opportunities for skilled and ambitious supply chain businesses, in particular SMEs.
As you are aware through our conversations around the TeesSMEs alliance of businesses, we are hungry to play a leading role in the Teesworks development and wider transformation of the Teesside economy.
Our drive, passion, agility and expertise will not only help deliver projects but also meaningful long-term social impact through the creation of jobs and training opportunities. We can help lift aspirations as much as we can help lift the local economy.
I know you share our passion for lasting positive change. We see Teesworks, further strengthened by Freeport status, as crucial in so many ways – the region’s revival, post-Covid-19 recovery, and the wider levelling up agenda for the North.
Much of the Chancellor’s talk around Freeports has been to encourage international trade post-Brexit – and the development of the new £90 million quay at South Bank will help deliver on that front.
But we also see it as a significant catalyst for the nation’s ambition to lead a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’: a revolution that we believe will be led from the North East.
Freeport status at Teesworks can only be beneficial to the extremely exciting Net Zero Teesside project – a real opportunity for the region to lead the way on Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage.
It will significantly strengthen the prospect of wind turbine manufacture at the site and ensure the region reaps the wider socioeconomic benefits promised by offshore windfarm developments.
There are so many more possibilities for innovation and development in this area.
We are already seeing the first signs of the site’s huge potential as businesses begin to work on getting the site ready for investment to take place.
A site that could quite easily have become a depressing symbol of the decline of the traditional industries that made this region great has now become a beacon of hope for a brighter, greener and more prosperous future.
Freeport status will strengthen Teesworks’ already strong proposition and drive forward the momentum gathering behind it significantly.
I – and I am sure Teesside’s business, and SME community in particular – look forward to your submission of a successful nomination for Teesworks.
Managing Director, Solomons Europe