Aerial view of Portsmouth International Port

Portsmouth can now operate as a fully functioning Freeport, following approval for a customs site at Portsmouth International Port, which will be operated by Portico. This will complement the tax site at Portsmouth City Council’s Dunsbury Park business development.

Portsmouth met HMRC’s designation order conditions, which means Freeport customs site activities can be carried out within a specified area at the port.

Authorised businesses can import certain goods to the port’s customs site with simplified customs documentation, and without paying tariffs. Also, authorised businesses operating inside the customs site can store or manufacture goods using imported raw materials. By doing this, they can add value before exporting them again and, where certain conditions are met, they don’t need to pay import duties. Domestic goods can also be held in the customs site and used in any processing activity.

The port’s customs site will be run by cargo terminal operator and trade experts Portico, which has extensive experience managing specialist customs requirements through their Portico Logistics operation.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Portsmouth City Council’s Leader said:

“Following news we can officially operate a customs site at the port, alongside an approved tax site already up-and-running at the council’s Dunsbury business park, Portsmouth now has both requirements for businesses to take advantage of Freeport benefits. This means more reasons to consider Portsmouth as a location, providing opportunities for employment and economic growth.

“Our city has the advantage of being located in a thriving marine and maritime region, and we’re proud to be able to kick start the Solent Freeport’s ambitious plans as the UK’s global gateway.”

Benjamin Harraway, Head of Portico Logistics said:

“As the Customs Site Operator (CSO) we have experts in the fields of customs, freight forwarding and logistics on hand to deal with complex arrangements daily.

“We are delighted to be part of the team kick-starting the Solent Freeport’s newest customs site and would encourage companies to contact us to find how we can help support them make the most of this opportunity.”

Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director said:

“Getting the go-ahead for the customs site from HMRC is the last piece needed to provide a fully functioning Freeport.

“We’re grateful for the expertise of our partners at Portico, who as Customs Site Operator (CSO) are critical to overseeing the complex arrangements required to make sure all compliances are met.

“We are fortunate to have a range of experts involved in the Solent Freeport, which highlights why the region is an attractive area for businesses looking for a location that can provide them with the very best skills and opportunities.”

Brian Johnson, Chair of Solent Freeport said:

“The Solent’s location makes it one of the UK’s most important gateways to European and global markets, and customs site designation of Portsmouth International Port is great news for the Solent Freeport and our region.

“Along with Solent Gateway on Southampton Water, this means the Solent Freeport now has two customs sites offering simplified processes for importing and exporting goods which will attract trade and investment, cementing our position as a global gateway.”

Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison MP said:

“It’s great to hear that the Solent is taking full advantage of the benefits Freeports can bring by becoming the first UK Freeport to get a second customs site.

“Freeports are at the core of our Levelling Up agenda and give places like the Solent a much-needed boost by driving new investment into the area and creating jobs for local people, as well as bolstering their position as a gateway to global trade.”

To find out how businesses can benefit from Portsmouth’s customs site, contact or