News & Events
As part of Biz Week 2022, we were delighted to host our event, View from the Humber and Humber Freeport, chaired by Senior Partner, Dominic Ward, on Wednesday 8th June. The session focused on the key role of the Humber now and in the future, the potential for growth and the challenges businesses face, along with the opportunities presented by the Humber’s Freeport status.
Our panel of speakers brought together some of the region’s leading businesspeople and professionals, who provided a range of perspectives and specialist insight as they discussed these key issues. The speakers were Simon Bird, Regional Director Humber, Associated British Ports and Chair of Humber Freeport, David Gwynne, Interim CEO , Humber Freeport, Virginia Skroski , Head of Investor Relations and Communications, Pensana Plc, and Philip Ashworth, Corporate Partner in the firm.
There were many varied, important updates and viewpoints shared throughout the session, not least a timely reminder that the Freeport is still very much on track and represents a major opportunity to attract inward investment to the Humber. It was also encouraging to hear that the Government rated the Humber bid as top of all of the bids submitted. By all accounts, this was due to the great work of our four local authorities on the Humber, who joined forces to make a compelling case for the region and were very well supported by professional advisers including KPMG and our specialist team at Andrew Jackson.
The Freeport tax sites in the Humber provide a fantastic opportunity for businesses to set up new facilities, as clearly evidenced by Pensana choosing the East Hull Tax Site as the location of the world’s first independent and sustainable Rare Earth processing hub. This significant facility will produce critical rare earths to drive the energy transition, which are vital to the Electric Vehicle and Offshore Wind sectors – industries that are currently in high demand, owing to the UK’s Net Zero targets. Currently, 95% of the world’s rare earth magnets are made in China, so the decision by Pensana to base its magnet metal supply chain on the Humber is an endorsement of the Freeport’s merits and a key example of the type of investment that it will attract.
There was a brief note of caution though, as it was highlighted that we face significant competition from other Freeport areas, particularly the Tees. As such, we need to maintain momentum and keep driving forward as a region to capitalise on the many opportunities our Freeport status offers.
There can be no doubt that UK business is facing significant challenges in the current climate but one of the key themes of the session was the huge potential of our region as we look to the future.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our speakers and guests for taking the time to join us for this event and sincerely hope that they found it as useful and informative as we did as hosts.