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Bid for creation of green freeport on River Clyde to be launched

A partnership is finalising plans to launch a multimillion-pound bid for the creation of a green freeport on the River Clyde (Jane Barlow/PA)
A partnership is finalising plans to launch a multimillion-pound bid for the creation of a green freeport on the River Clyde (Jane Barlow/PA)

Plans are being finalised to launch a multimillion-pound bid for the creation of a green freeport on the River Clyde.

The Clyde Green Freeport project is being prepared by a partnership consisting of Glasgow Airport, Clydeport, Mossend International Railfreight Park in North Lanarkshire and the Glasgow City Region councils.

Businesses operating within the economic areas – large zones within a boundary which include an airport, sea or rail – could benefit from tax breaks or other incentives.

A freeport in Glasgow, the partnership says, would allow for the maximisation of the area’s transport network and facilities at Glasgow Airport, the freight interchange at Mossend, and four deep-water ports on the River Clyde.

Glasgow Airport sign
Glasgow Airport is part of the group behind the bid (Jane Barlow/PA)

It is hoped the initiative would attract major new investment to the region, developing opportunities for global trade, accelerating net-zero objectives and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

The bid also argues that the zone would help make “significant progress” towards decarbonising transport infrastructure in the area.

Kevin Rush, senior responsible officer for the Clyde Green Freeport bid and director of regional economic growth for the Glasgow City Region, said: “As Scotland’s economic powerhouse, Glasgow City Region is uniquely positioned to create a highly successful green freeport to put the country at the forefront of global trade and decarbonisation.

“We have everything necessary to make a successful bid – unrivalled connectivity across the UK and beyond, one of the most educated populations in the UK, a GVA (gross value added) of £47.3 billion and 33% of Scotland’s GDP, three world-class innovation districts, home to internationally acclaimed universities and research institutes, and renowned business expertise across key sectors of aerospace, advanced engineering, manufacturing, maritime and medical.”

He went on: “Glasgow City Region is at the heart of the Scottish economy, providing almost 30% of the country’s business base and 34% of its jobs.

“As well as the enormous economic boost and competitive advantage a successful bid would bring to Glasgow City Region, it would also support enterprise, regeneration and trade across the rest of Scotland and the UK.”

James McSporran, port director at Clydeport, said: “Clydeport has been a mainstay of supporting industry by importing and exporting goods growing to one million tonnes of cargo from its KGV facility to 60,000 containers moving through Greenock.

“It remains a significant player in the development of the Clyde industrial growth and is central to the Clyde Green Freeport bid initiative, providing not only the means to service the local markets but to allow a global reach through in-house connectivity to other UK ports such as Liverpool and Medway.”

Andrew Stirling, of Peter D Stirling Ltd and Mossend International Railfreight Park director, said: “Along with our partners, we’re in a very good position at Mossend to deliver this bid with our existing electric rail infrastructure and plans for our all electric rail freight terminal and freight park, all to be operated using alternative energies that put Scotland at the forefront in the UK for championing zero-carbon rail freight.”

Glasgow Airport operations director Ronald Leitch said: “We are excited to be part of the Clyde Green Freeport bid.

“As the industrial powerhouse of Scotland, the Glasgow City Region is the natural home for a freeport which will stimulate jobs, increase trade, attract new companies and make it easier for existing ones to export their goods and services.”