In the March 2021 Budget, Liverpool City Region was announced by the Chancellor as one of eight places across England that will be granted Freeport status, subject to the successful development of a business case.

    The bidding process brought together a consortium of partners, including LCRCA, its constituent local authorities, the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), and its sector boards, Growth Platform, industry bodies, universities, further education colleges, infrastructure owners and operators, and the wider local business base. The LCR Freeport aims to provide a boost to the local economy, enabling key sites across the Liverpool City Region to attract new investment, create quality jobs, support the wider economy, and increase levels of innovation.

    It is estimated that the creation of a multi-gateway, multi-modal Freeport will contribute around £850m GVA, create 14,000 jobs. It will enable key sites across the Liverpool City Region to attract new investment, increase levels of innovation, as well as lead on solutions to meet the region’s Net Zero Carbon targets for 2040.

    The opportunities

    The core opportunities presented by the LCR Freeport are to:

    • Increase trade through the Port of Liverpool and other City Region and North West gateways, improving efficiency of flows and driving employment growth
    • Develop a globally significant cluster of port, manufacturing, logistics and innovation activity
    • Be a central tool in attracting inward investment
    • Regenerate areas of deprivation and create sustainable job creation
    • Make a significant contribution in rebalancing UK freight and logistics
    • Improve links to national, regional and City Regional infrastructure assets
    • Support the enablement of national and local ambitions for Net Zero
      The LCR Freeports ability to optimise this infrastructure and import and export cost effectively is key to its future growth. A strategic strength of the Liverpool City Region is the ability to combine multimodal port infrastructure with business capability and large population centres in close proximity.

    The LCR Freeport Tax Sites

    The three tax sites provide a strong offer for inward investors, each with complementary strengths and significant developmental capacity:

    Wirral Waters– a nationally significant regeneration site that will support the advanced manufacturing base and be a focus for dedicated maritime and decarbonisation innovation activity. Occupier driven, Wirral Waters provides port and strategic road access, and links to key assets such as Cammell Laird.

    Parkside, St Helens– the largest strategic site within LCR, it will be rail enabled and have extensive capacity to support efficient logistics and manufacturing activity. It is an investor-led proposition, with major opportunities to build on existing R&D and decarbonisation within Foundation Industries, as well as creating on-site energy.

    3MG, Widnes – a major gateway site with established multimodal infrastructure. 3MG straddles the Liverpool Branch of the West Coast Mainline enabling the multimodal shift and has an existing Customs & Excise Inland Port. Freeport tax site status will also support clustering to continue the innovative work and investments in relation to Hydrogen taking place in Halton and the City Region.

    A Freeport that is underpinned by innovation

    Sustained innovation will be a key objective for the LCR Freeport, which will catalyse new investment in industry and academic collaborations. It will enable new technology testing for more efficient digital customs solutions, new transport and maritime technologies that support decarbonisation.

    Through conversations with industry, academia and other experts, there are identified avenues for utilising the LCR Freeport in coordinating existing research around carbon capture and storage, smart ports, alternative fuels (particularly in relation to hydrogen and shipping), and zero carbon buildings.

    The offer will build on maritime innovation (with particular opportunities at Wirral Waters and links to key local assets such as the National Oceanography Centre). It will further unlock collaborative opportunities linked to our digital infrastructure strengths (e.g. SciTech Daresbury & MTC’s Digital Manufacturing Accelerator) and build on proven industry led digitisation programmes such as LCR4.0 and Made Smarter.

    The LCR Freeport connects strategically into the array of world class innovation assets that the City Region has to offer. This strategic approach will result in LCR Freeport being ideally positioned to successfully access funding streams that will help drive business led innovation.

    Download Freeport Bid Summary

    For more information on LCR Freeport and how you can get involved visit email