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SaxaVord seeks Freeport status

August 25, 2022

The SaxaVord spaceport in Scotland is seeking to win ‘Freeport’ status helped by a “strategic partnership” with the North-East Scotland Green Freeport bid.

The UK is in the process of establishing Freeports around the country and SaxaVord wants to be a ‘subzone’ of the North-East Scotland Green Freeport (NESGF) should it be successful in its application.

SaxaVord and NESGF say that, with the well-established maritime ports at Aberdeen and Peterhead, along with Aberdeen Airport, their participation will be key elements in a complex international supply chain that will serve the spaceport and its fast-growing global client base.

The discussions between freeport and spaceport add a new dimension to the NESGF bid which is currently being jointly assessed by the Scottish and UK governments. The Green Freeport bidding prospectus allows applications to be made for exceptional additional customs and tax sites outside the outer boundary where it can be supported by a clear economic rationale.

SaxaVord will host the UK’s first vertical rocket launches next year to deliver small satellites into orbit.

“In addition to our plans for carbon capture and hydrogen production, as well as offshore wind, our desire to form a strong association with SaxaVord Spaceport means we will boldly be going where no freeport has gone before,” said Peterhead Port Authority chief executive Simon Brebner. “The two ports and airport are clearly geographically central to the spaceport supply chain, and we believe that if our bid is successful we will be able to add significantly to our value proposition”.

“There is a clear case to be made for SaxaVord Spaceport becoming a subzone of NESGF,” he added.

Jon Matthews, Group Head of Capital and Planning at Aberdeen International Airport, said: “The North-East Scotland Green Freeport bid is a real opportunity to establish our region as the Net Zero Capital of Europe. It will deliver a sustainable economic future for the region with 32,000 fair-work long-term jobs”.

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said: “As we prepare for launch, it makes absolute sense to align ourselves with the NESFG bid as the benefits for both Shetland and the North-East are clear, and, dare I say it, out of this world. Our business will be of huge strategic and commercial significance to the UK and Scotland for decades to come, and any associated freeport status would be of considerable importance to our own plans and enhance the ability of the bid partners in the North East to support us. The clear ambition of NESGF to reposition the region as the Net Zero Capital of Europe aligns seamlessly with our aspiration to become a green energy exemplar. This is just one of the reasons we will be opening an office in Aberdeen shortly”.

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