Thames Freeport said 1,000 jobs had been created in the region in the two years since it was afforded tariff-free status.

The economic zone connects Ford’s Dagenham engine plant and the global ports at DP World’s London Gateway, Forth Ports’ Tilbury, as well as communities looking to level up.

Private sector investment of £600m over the last two years has helped create jobs and now Thames Freeport and telecommunications firm Verizon, have announced a plan to launch a 5G network at the site.

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Lord Johnson, Minister of State in the department for business, said: “UK Freeports represents a generational shift in UK competitiveness, creating perfect places for businesses to innovate, collaborate and grow. It is fantastic to see Thames Freeport already realising their vision of a global hub for trade and investment into advanced manufacturing, clean technologies, and future logistics.”

Thames Freeport provides financial incentives to businesses, potentially equivalent to 50% of the investment.

Incentives include no stamp duty on land purchases, savings on employer national insurance contributions and capital allowances on investment.