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Three Ports Bid for Welsh Freeport Status

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Applications have closed from bidders interested in setting up a new Freeport in Wales.

Backed by £26 million in UK Government funding, the Freeport Programme in Wales aims to create jobs, boost the local economy and regenerate surrounding areas.

Three bids have been received from ports around the country. They will be jointly assessed by officials from the UK and Welsh governments and it is expected that the successful site will be announced in early 2023 before becoming operational later in the year.

The two public bids include the Celtic Freeport whose partners are Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven. The other bid has been put forward by Stena Line in partnership with Anglesey County Council.

Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said: 

“It is fantastic to take the next step in delivering a Freeport for Wales. It will bring jobs and prosperity to its surrounding region and provide a huge boost to the Welsh economy.

“The UK Government has long been committed to bringing a Freeport to Wales and is delivering on that pledge. The Freeports programme is already returning benefits for businesses and communities elsewhere in the UK and I look forward to seeing similar results for Wales.”

Wales has already received more than £165m in levelling up funding from UK Government with more to follow in the coming months. This has gone towards projects such as transforming Haverfordwest Castle into an attraction ready for all seasons, a facelift for the Queen’s Ballroom in Tredegar and giving Llandrindod Wells a new lease of life in the form of affordable, energy efficient homes.