Humber Freeport attracts £1bn of investment as success story shared at decarbonisation summit

Speakers at The Waterline Summit event, from left, Richard Gwilliam, of Drax Group; Jo Barnes, of Yorkshire Energy Park; Chris Gilbert, from Phillips 66; Katie Hedges, of CATCH; Harry Jones, Freeports Programme Director; and Simon Green, Interim CEO, Humber Freeport.

Humber Freeport tax sites have already attracted £1bn of investment which will create up to 600 jobs across the region, a major decarbonisation conference has heard.

Humber Freeport’s Interim CEO Simon Green told an event during The Waterline Summit that “tangible success” is already being seen at tax sites in Hull and Goole.

Major investments announced have included Finnish company Metsä Tissue’s plans to build the UK’s largest tissue paper mill in Goole, creating more than 400 jobs on site.

At Saltend Chemicals Park – part of the Hull East tax site – Pensana is investing more than £150m in rare earth processing facility, while Meld Energy plans to invest £180m in a green hydrogen production facility at the site.

Mr Green joined a panel of experts on the final day of The Waterline Summit, discussing the importance of innovation and collaboration across the region to drive clean growth.

He said: “The success we have already seen across our freeport sites has been very tangible. Investments totalling around £1bn have been announced, which will create up to 600 jobs in both Hull and Goole.

“Crucially, those investments are innovation-led, from companies across the world who are bringing new skills and technologies into the region.

“Collaboration is a key measure of success in freeports and what we’ve created across our sites in the Humber is a portfolio which meets the investment needs of the region – from advanced manufacturing and engineering to decarbonisation and clean energy projects.”

Mr Green also praised the collaboration between freeport site landowners who have “complemented each other” and brought forward development sites with distinct and unique opportunities for investors.

Delivered by Future Humber and the University of Hull, The Waterline Summit highlighted the Humber region’s vital role in leading the UK’s transition to net zero, with freeport status providing exciting opportunities for growth across the region.

Mr Green spoke on The Waterline Summit panel alongside Harry Jones, Freeports Programme Director at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Mr Jones and representatives from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs visited the Humber for a two-day tour of the freeport tax and customs sites in Hull, Grimsby, Immingham and Goole.

They also spoke to major investors and stakeholders, including businesses which are receiving a share of £25m seed capital funding awarded by Humber Freeport.

Mr Jones said: “The path to net zero has to go through the Humber. That is not going to change and the tools we have available to us in the freeport are critical to that energy transition.

“The scale of opportunity – and need – for investment in the Humber is huge in the drive to net zero.

“We need to make sure the momentum we have already generated continues and accelerates. When it comes to the energy transition, there is perhaps no freeport in the country with a more significant role to play.”

The Government visit to the Humber also featured a roundtable discussion held at the Associated British Ports (ABP) offices in Hull, hosted by Humber Freeport Chair Simon Bird, who is also ABP’s Humber Director.

Mr Bird said: “The Government visit provided an opportunity to showcase the breadth of inward investment which is already being made by global companies across Humber Freeport sites.

“Freeport status has brought with it a renewed sense of aspiration and ambition, with innovation at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve here in the Humber.

“As the pre-eminent energy cluster in North West Europe, the investments we are seeing in the region align around a key message – to tackle the climate crisis and transition to a net zero economy, the Humber must be at the very forefront.”

The Government delegation was also shown around Siemens Gamesa’s offshore wind turbine blade factory at Alexandra Dock in Hull, which is Humber Freeport site. The company is investing more than £180m to expand the Hull facility.

Previous articleHull-based solicitors raises over £1,000 in charity challenge
Next articleAdored Earth Wins Contribution to the Community Award at Clean & Tidy Home Show