Grangemouth freeport - the more it prospers the more the community benefits

As they await the outcome of their massively ambitious bid to create a freeport in the Grangemouth area the group behind the plans stated their proposal is the best option for Scotland as a whole.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 10:38 am
Updated Thursday, 14th July 2022, 10:17 pm

Forth Ports believes its proposed Forth Green Freeport will help create 50,000 new environmentally friendly jobs and boost economic development for the entire country.

Stuart Wallace, Forth Ports chief operating officer, said the move will also be good for the local economy and local community in and around Grangemouth, helping areas of deprivation.

In effect, the better the freeport does, the more jobs it creates and the more it boosts the economy, the more the surrounding communities will feel the benefits.

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The Port of Grangemouth

Mr Wallace said: "The more activity that happens, stimulated by the freeport, allows the local authority to borrow a bit more money. Conversations we have had with the

council indicate this money would be used to benefit areas of deprivation.

"It’s an important part of the levelling up agenda. We want to grow the jobs in the area and create the skills to fill them so people can enjoy living and working here.”

Forth Ports, which runs the Port of Grangemouth, joined a public and private sector consortium – which includes Falkirk Council and Ineos – to submit a bid to the Scottish and UK governments to create the Forth Green Freeport earlier this year.

The bid encompasses three key ports on the Forth – Grangemouth, Leith and Rosyth – as well as industrial facilities and logistics centres along the north and south shores of the Firth of Forth and the busy Edinburgh Airport.

Mr Wallace said: “We feel our bid is the best one for Scotland as a whole and will have a really positive impact on central Scotland. When you look at Grangemouth, which already has the biggest container port in the country and the country’s only oil refinery, it is so central, in the middle of the country between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

"We have a very compelling bid – we genuinely believe it is one of the most credible and most aspirational bids that has been submitted.”

He added the Forth Green Freeport bid encompasses 240 hectares of land that includes an industrial complex and infrastructure that is ready for development to happen right now.

Mr Wallace said the good thing about Grangemouth – and something that is a positive aspect when it comes to winning the bid – is there is so much land here, located in Ineos and at CalaChem, that is ready to be developed quite quickly.

“Grangemouth emits 40 per cent of Scotland’s CO2 at the moment – driven up by all the economic activity that goes on in and around us. We are looking to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045 and if we are to do that then we have to look at the Grangemouth issue.

"The freeport will enable us to accelerate this change to net zero.”

If the bid is accepted – and Mr Wallace believes the announcement will be made in August – there is another stage to go through in order to change Grangemouth into a freeport and once that legislation is passed the work can begin in the spring of 2023.