Thames Freeport said demand from businesses wanting to relocate to its economic zone was “sky high”, a year after the tariff-free sites were launched in the UK.

DP World, Ford and Forth Ports said they had experienced huge demand, with a range of businesses seeking to take advantage of the financial incentives attached to a freeport status.

Thames Freeport connects Ford’s Dagenham engine plant, London Gateway and Tilbury ports and communities looking to level up.

DP World recently revealed that a third leading business in four months will be moving to its port-centric logistics park, with construction underway on a second speculative unit to meet the demand for warehousing space in south east England.

Ernst Schulze, DP World chief executive, said: “We have seen the best year for new business in a decade at our port-centric logistics park, which is the size of 400 football pitches and will soon become home to a workforce 10,000-strong.

“We can work with customers on their building requirements of up to one million square feet and deliver bespoke solutions via a 28-day planning agreement with the local council.”