The new hubs will support regeneration in Scotland and the government’s bid to level-up all four corners of the United Kingdom.
Bidders for the two Green Freeports must specify how they will create high-quality jobs and support the transition to a net-zero economy by 2045.
Funding up to £52m will be available for the projects; the successful bids will be announced in the summer and it is hoped to have the sites operational by spring 2023.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Freeports will help to accelerate our plan to level up communities across the whole of the United Kingdom.
“They have the power to be truly transformational by creating jobs and investment opportunities to enable people to reach their potential, and I am delighted that people across Scotland will reap the benefits that will come from having two new Green Freeports.
“The agreement with the Scottish Government builds on UK government’s ambitious long-term plan to spread opportunity more equally across the whole of the UK, as set out in the Levelling Up White Paper. As part of this, we are determined to ensure every corner of the UK can reap the benefits of our Freeport programme – supporting regeneration while attracting new jobs, business and investment.
“The Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Secretary of State for Wales have discussed this issue with counterparts in the Welsh Government, and good progress is being made towards an agreement that would see a new Freeport delivered in Wales as part of a shared endeavour between UK and Welsh Governments. We hope to be able to announce details shortly.”
Secretary of State Michael Gove added: “Green Freeports help inject billions into the local economy, while levelling-up by creating jobs for local people, and opportunities for people all over the UK to flourish.
“By collaborating using opportunities like Green Freeports we can work to level-up the whole of the UK and bring benefits and opportunities to communities that need it most.”
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes, said: “I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement on a joint approach that recognises the distinct needs of Scotland and enshrines the Scottish Government’s commitment to achieving net-zero and embedding fair work practices through public investment.
“Scotland has a rich history of innovative manufacturers and so as we look to grasp the many opportunities of achieving net-zero, the establishment of Green Freeports will help us create new green jobs, deliver a just transition and support our economic transformation.”
Officials from the UK and Scottish governments will jointly assess the prospective bids to ensure they meet their shared goals and ministers will have an equal say on the final selection of the locations.
Any sea, air or rail port can apply as part of a consortium with other businesses, the council, and other relevant public bodies. However, any consortium wishing to bid to establish Green Freeport must guarantee that local communities will benefit from it, as well as delivering on ambitious targets for Net Zero.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Based on the outlined business case of Freeports, we expect the existing confirmed Freeports across the UK will add £23.9 billion in additional gross value added and bring forwards £25.3 billion in private investment.
“As the bids have not been received for the Green Freeports, we won’t yet be able to speculate on what additional gross value added they will provide.”
Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply. Freeports are centred around one or more air, rail, or seaport, but can extend up to 45km beyond the port(s).