Archives for June 3, 2021

British public strongly supports economic benefits of freeports, research finds

The British public believes that freeports will have a positive impact on the economy but, according to new research from economic development and infrastructure communications specialists, Copper Consultancy, many remain unclear on exactly how they will work.

Copper’s Attitudes to Freeports report, which will be released tomorrow (Thursday 3 June), considers the views of a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults who took part in a dedicated survey conducted by Censuswide. The research found that, though a majority of the public believe that freeports will be beneficial to the economy, aspects such as their role in fostering clean growth and innovation are less well understood.

Following the announcement of eight new freeports in the Budget in March 2021, the survey was designed to provide both quantitative and qualitative insights into attitudes towards the Chancellor’s flagship policy. Despite the high profile given to the announcement in the Chancellor’s Budget speech, the report identifies low levels of awareness of freeports, with just 36 per cent of people claiming to be aware of them.

However, the report also found that, once made aware, the public believes that freeports will have a positive impact on the economy, with 60 per cent of respondents viewing freeports as a positive force for economic good. Just 15 per cent of those surveyed thought freeports will negatively impact the economy.

Respondents were less clear on how freeports will deliver these economic benefits. When provided with eight statements setting out potential benefits and impacts, only freeports’ role in creating jobs for local people attracted strong agreement from more than 20 per cent of people. While statements on clean growth and innovation appeared to have less cut through, neither did fears around the creation of tax havens or lowering of environmental and employment standards.

Commenting on the research in his foreword for the report, UK Major Ports Group Chief Executive Tim Morris said: “Copper’s research shows there is work to do to raise public awareness about the positive benefits of freeports, suggesting a challenge for the selected freeport consortia to paint a picture of their contribution to a thriving post-covid Britain. But the research also shows that there is space for such a case to be made, with many people in the undecided camp.”

James Gore, Copper Consultancy’s Director of Economic Development, said: “This report shows that freeports enjoy support from the public, but more could be done to clearly explain the freeport model and its potential benefits. While many understand how freeports could boost exports, fewer associate them with innovation and clean growth. Clearly articulating a positive vision which puts freeports at the heart of a high-tech, green future will go some way to securing wider support as the eight successful bidders deliver their plans.”

Abandon our current mindset and embrace Generation Z’s values, Ince boss tells tells ‘London Talks’

The shipping industry needs to abandon its current mindset and to instead welcome new technology and embrace this current generation – who represent both our future and our heritage, according to maritime lawyer Julian Clark.

“We need to work with them and understand them,” he advised via the LISW21 website this week. “Embed within our organisations a culture of diversity, inclusion and environmental concern. This is morally right but also essential for this group who will be our future leaders.”

In his talk, the second in an informative series of London Talks videos which lead up to London International Shipping Week 2021 (LISW21), Mr Clark, Global Senior Partner with Ince, described Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2015) as “truly revolutionary”.

This generation, the oldest of whom are now entering the workplace as seafarers, shipping executives and lawyers, have an incredible range of knowledge gained from the newest technology which they have largely grown up with. They are highly educated and used to having instant information and results at their fingertips. “They think very differently,” he pointed out, warning that they will also “vote with their feet” if workplaces don’t meet their expectations.

Mr Clark said he enjoys engaging in discussion with the young people in his firm, describing them as “more radically, ethically and racially diverse than any other generation we’ve seen”. He enthused: “Their passion for these issues really creates in me a sense of inspiration and enthusiasm.”

And he advised viewers: “Let’s engage with them now, let’s work with them now and create this future – for ourselves but, more importantly, for them.”

Julian Clark’s London Talks presentation – “Our Youth of Today and the Role That They Will Play in Tomorrow” – can be viewed here:

London International Shipping Week 2021 runs from September 13 to 17, 2021. For more information see the dedicated event website:


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