Milford Haven port has announced that it has joined a bid consortium to explore the case for a green freeport in South-West Wales.
The freeport would bring together the ports of Milford Haven and Port Talbot to unlock what has been labelled 'the widest possible opportunity for Wales and the UK'.
If successful, the freeport would help accelerate investment and fast-track modern skills development for new green industries.
As well as strengthening export opportunities, the freeport would also support the Welsh and UK Governments’ ambitions to drive economic growth.
The freeport bid consortium consists of Associated British Ports, Neath Port Talbot Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the Port of Milford Haven.
"Both Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire have exciting, shared opportunities for nationally significant energy infrastructure to support the development of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, hydrogen and sustainable fuels," said a spokeman for Pembrokeshire County Council.
"Combining this potential with the region’s skill base, existing facilities and proximity to key markets offers a compelling argument for a potential freeport bid."
The Welsh and UK Governments have jointly designed a freeport model to deliver three objectives, which must be met by applicants.
the ability to promote regeneration and high-quality job creation;
establishing a national hub for global trade and investment across the economy and
fostering an innovative environment.
The consortium will work with established and emerging industry representatives, unions, academics and other key stakeholders to map out the full opportunity and create a compelling case for a South-West Wales joint freeport bid grounded in green economic growth.
This accelerated investment pathway and modern skills programme will enable local communities to share in the substantial benefits of green freeport growth.
The Port of Milford Haven is currently the UK’s top energy port and is Wales’ busiest port handling around 20 per cent of Britain’s seaborne trade in oil and gas. It is widely recognised in the industry as the energy capital of the UK.
It also owns and operates Pembroke Port and Milford Dock with ativities such as cargo handling, ferry operations, fish landing, cruise calls and a first class marina spread across both sites.
The Port of Milford Haven is also a trust port, which is an independent, commercially run organisation with statutory responsibilities governed by its Acts, to maintain and improve navigation and the provision of port and harbour services and facilities.
Bids must be submitted by 24 November 2022. The successful bid will be announced in early spring 2023, with the freeport being established by summer 2023.