Port of Felixstowe Expands its Potential With New Freeport Zone

suzie morley gateway 14
Councillor Suzie Morley of the Mid Suffolk District Council breaks ground for the new freeport zone (Mid Suffolk District Council)

Published Apr 25, 2022 3:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

The port of Felixstowe is set to get a new 150-acre freeport industrial zone, which will provide millions of square feet of floorspace for warehousing, distribution and manufacturing within easy reach of the port. It will be the largest business park in East Anglia, according to its developer, the government-owned corporation Gateway 14.

The groundbreaking for Gateway 14 was held on Monday. Some of the space is reserved for build-to-suit applications, and some will be pre-built by the development partners on a speculative basis. As it is classified as a freeport zone, it comes with a range of tax and customs duty advantages for commerce.

The new site is adjacent to the community of Stowmarket on the A14 highway, just 26 road miles fromt Felixstowe, the largest container port in the UK. The developer plans to construct it with sustainability in mind, and will incorporate EV charging, LED lighting, solar panels, smart energy systems and rainwater harvesting. Its buildings will be certified to high environmental standards, and extra attention will be paid to landscaping in order to support the local ecology and make the site more enjoyable for employees. The initial investment in basic site infrastructure comes to about $8 million.

Gateway 14 is one component of the larger Harwich/Felixstowe Freeport East expansion project. The initiative includes two more designated tax sites at Felixstowe and Harwich, plus another four special customs sites. 

”Freeport East is a transformational initiative providing a total of 275 hectares of development opportunities in an area around the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich. Freeport status will attract new and additional investment in world-leading infrastructure and innovation, driving the Green Industrial Revolution and providing extensive re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities," said George Kieffer, the acting chairman of the Freeport East project.

Felixstowe is the largest container port in the UK, and it has handled more than 100 million TEU since it transferred its first Sealand container over the quay in 1966. Today, it handles over four million TEU and 2,000 boxships per year.