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South Yorkshire freeport bid submitted

08. 02. 2021

Verdion and the teams at iPort and iPort Rail are supporting the South Yorkshire Freeport bid, aiming to make the area the largest advanced manufacturing hub in Europe and putting it at the heart of world-class innovation.

If the bid – which was submitted on 5 February – is successful, South Yorkshire will become one of ten new freeports across the UK. Once established, the freeport would help build on South Yorkshire’s longstanding reputation for innovation and excellence, and further establish the region as a hub for global trade and investment.

The Freeport, backed by key industry figures and politicians, centres around Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Verdion’s iPort logistics hub – which have substantial plans for growth – major manufacturers including Sheffield Forgemasters and Liberty Steel, and more than 360 hectares of land primed for development (at GatewayEast, Junction36 and iPort).

New modelling suggests a Freeport in the South Yorkshire would:

  • Create 28,700 new jobs
  • Increase wages by at least east 19% (due to a focus on advanced manufacturing)
  • Add £169m to the South Yorkshire economy every year
  • Boost imports by £306m and exports by £410m
  • Unlock or accelerate over £500m of investment
  • Transform the Sheffield City Region into a net exporter of goods by 2029

Michael Hughes, CEO of Verdion – which is responsible for iPort – commented: “A inland freeport in South Yorkshire would be a huge boost – for trade, development, investment and jobs. Its location at the heart of the country with so much critical infrastructure and space for future growth already in place offers enormous potential.”

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “Establishing a freeport will help our region’s businesses and universities export ideas, goods and services across the world, supporting our ambitions for a new era of prosperity and a stronger, greener and fairer economy for South Yorkshire after the coronavirus pandemic. It will help to unlock our region’s potential and create opportunities for people, places and businesses.

“Our region has incredible strengths in research and innovation and businesses capable of substantial growth. Government must now back our bid to establish a freeport to generate the jobs, training and investment needed to deliver prosperity for people and businesses across the region and the North.

“This is an opportunity for government to show its commitment to levelling up and unlock South Yorkshire’s potential.”

Robert Hough, Chair of Peel Airports Group which includes Doncaster Sheffield Airport said: “Ports and airports are well known as hubs for global trade and investment., Freeport status would only enhance that. By bringing together the UK’s first strategic rail port for a decade at iPort and one of the longest runways in the UK with capacity to grow at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Peel, Harworth and Verdion have proven track records in delivering transformational projects, helping to create jobs and opportunities for local people.”

South Yorkshire Freeport’s backers

Sheffield Forgemasters
Liberty Steel
McLaren Automotive
Hird Group
Peel L&P
Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Hird Group
Advanced Manufacturing Park
Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley & Rotherham Chambers of Commerce
Harworth Group
Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority
Sheffield City Region LEP
Doncaster and Barnsley Councils
South Yorkshire International Trade Forum


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