UK Freeports  have been granted a special customs model regime which allows businesses to operate in a “freezone” environment that makes trade easier and significantly reduces costs.  We call these our “Customs Sites”.

The customs model can be applied on existing operational sites, with existing businesses (such as manufacturers which trade internationally), or on new sites to support new investment.  They can be set up anywhere in the Freeport East geography, and further afield in some cases.  Operations can also be connected between customs sites across Freeport East, connected to other customs site in other freeports in the UK or even connected to other freezones in other countries.

For ambitious businesses, the Freeport Customs Model offers a unique strategic advantage to building more efficient and customer-centric business operations.

Eligible businesses operating within a Freeport East customs site can take advantage of duty suspension, duty exemption on re-exports and flexibility on how duty is calculated, as well as simplified customs procedures to import, export, store or process goods and streamlined processes for bringing goods into and moving goods between customs sites.

Freeport customs sites are run by an operator, who is responsible for the security of the site and keeping records about goods moving in, around and out of the site.

New customs sites require authorisation from Freeport East Ltd, which provide strategic oversight of new customs site development.  In addition, a customs site procedure is run by HMRC for full authorisation
For details of how to apply to become a Customs Site Operator, please see information published on the Gov.UK website: Apply to be a UK Freeport customs site operator – GOV.UK (

For businesses looking to apply for Freeport Business Operator status, further information can be obtained through applying to use the Freeport customs special procedure.

For more details please see:

HMRC has recently published these indicative examples of how businesses can benefit from locating in a Freeport.

They focus on businesses locating within a customs site, but some also cover the tax site benefits. The document includes a summary of the benefits, including those which are unique to the Freeports Customs Model.