Just got back from visiting the Port of Felixstowe. Met with the Chief Operating Officer Clemence Cheng and others.
On the ship behind me there are 22,000 containers apparently. If you lined them all up the line would go on for over 80 miles. From Felixstowe to about Cambridge.
Discussed Freeport East and what this could mean for Ipswich. Over the next 10 years it is predicted that 13,500 new jobs will be on the way. There will be a major focus from the Government to make sure these Freeport’s are a success and I think there could be a significant amount of new investment across a number of different areas.
There is a significant agenda here re education and skills. The hope is that Freeport status will lead to a significant increase in manufacturing, particularly high end manufacturing, taking place locally bringing forward a number of high skilled jobs in the area. We need to make sure that it is local people who benefit from these opportunities.
Ipswich sits in the middle of the Freeport zone and my clear view is that we need to be at the heart of what is happening with the Freeport and benefit to the fullest extent. I will be working closely with the Port and the Government over the next couple of years to make sure this is the case.
Freeport’s are a key benefit that has come about as a result of Brexit.