Green light for transformational Celtic Freeport bid
23 March 2023
The Celtic Freeport private-public bid consortium has reacted to today’s announcement it has been shortlisted by the UK and Welsh Governments for freeport status.
The Celtic Freeport will deliver an accelerated pathway for Wales’ net zero economy generating over 16,000 new, green jobs and up to £5.5 billion of new investment. The transformational bid covers the ports of Milford Haven and Port Talbot and spans clean energy developments and innovation assets, fuel terminals, a power station, heavy engineering and the steel industry across south-west Wales.
Commenting on the selection of Celtic Freeport as one of the candidates for a Welsh Freeport, Roger Maggs MBE, Chair of the Celtic Freeport bid consortium, said:
“We hope that Wales' two freeports will deliver for the country. The future is exciting. The Celtic Freeport has catalysed major business interest, local communities, trade unions and academia in using Wales' largest industrial base as the launchpad for developing new technologies and the renewable energy manufacturing opportunities of tomorrow. This has the potential to unlock £5.5 billion of private and public investment for Wales and create new training and innovation facilities, factories and expanded green energy ports, as well as new alternative fuel production complexes.
“Our green investment and innovation corridor will support the creation of 16,000 green jobs, which will not just be good news for Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock and Neath Port Talbot, but also Bridgend, Carmarthen, Swansea, The Valleys and many other communities across Wales.”
The Celtic Freeport consortium comprises Associated British Ports (ABP), Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven. The bid’s strategically located tax and customs sites span almost 250 hectares in Pembrokeshire and Neath Port Talbot.
Cllr Steve Hunt, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said:
“Today’s announcement is an absolute game changer for Neath Port Talbot and for Wales. It will transform the fortunes of people in all our communities. It puts us at the forefront of the world’s green energy revolution and our residents will soon be working in the industry of the future, learning the skills for securing green, well paid jobs.
Karen Jones, Chief Executive of Neath Port Talbot Council, said:
“This great news is the first step towards a much brighter future here in our county borough. I look forward to working with our partners to make sure local people and businesses have the best possible benefit from what’s now in front of us.”
Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, said:
“Today’s announcement that the Celtic Freeport Bid has been successful is fantastic news for Pembrokeshire, Wales and Great Britain.
“The Celtic Freeport will unleash the full green industrial potential of Wales, accelerating the decarbonisation of our most carbon intensive industries and bringing new opportunities to our communities, major international investment and thousands of high skilled jobs to the region.”
Will Bramble CBE, Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire County Council, added:
“The Celtic Freeport will produce significant investment in the region, particularly the focused areas of upskilling our workforce and ultimately creating job opportunities here in south west Wales. Fundamentally this will now put us at the leading edge of the green industrial revolution.”
Tom Sawyer, Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, said:
“As the UK’s Energy Port, the Port of Milford Haven welcomes this fantastic news which allows us to build on the significant multi-million pound investment we’ve already made in the renewables sector at Pembroke Port. But what really excites us about this announcement today is the positive impact it’s going to have on our coastal communities. Securing the jobs of today and creating fantastic opportunities for future generations.”
Andrew Harston, Regional Director, Associated British Ports, said:
“Associated British Ports is absolutely delighted that our Celtic Freeport bid has been successful. Floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Wales, and the scale needed is immense.
“ABP stands ready to invest £500 million in our port at Port Talbot to ensure first mover advantage to capture this global market. We want our ports to act as a base for FLOW manufacturing, maintenance and operations. And it’s not just about FLOW, it’s about sustainable fuels and hydrogen too.”