The Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen is in talks with ministers and Middle East investors over a deal to create a new super-port and “level up” Britain’s former industrial heartlands. Teesside is already set to become the largest freeport in the UK, after winning the new tax-friendly status to encourage investment and jobs in March’s Budget . Some 4,500 acres of land including the former SSI steelworks is now owned by the South Tees Development Corporation (STDC) chaired by Mr Houchen, representing the biggest regeneration project in the UK. […] Mr Houchen – a key ally of Boris Johnson in the so-called “blue wall” that helped deliver his resounding General Election victory – is understood to be in early talks with Downing Street and the new Office for Investment headed by Lord Grimstone over the possibility of buying PD Ports, whose major asset is the Teesport facility. […] The senior source said: “One of the projects that we’re working on with Number 10 and Mubadala is the acquisition of PD Ports, and then to bring PD Ports into the wider ownership of Teesworks [the STDC] with various private partners, and then to turn the whole 4,500 acre site into a world-leading fully automated freeport with another £1-1.5bn worth of investment – to turn it into a brand new inward trade port into the UK.
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