?65m Freeport scheme ‘could create 500 jobs’

A £65m speculative logistics development within Liverpool City Region Freeport could lead to the creation of up to 500 jobs. Tony McDonough reports

XDock, Freeport CGI of the £65m XDock logistics scheme in Widnes

A new 550,000 sq ft logistics complex within Liverpool City Region Freeport could lead to the creation of up to 500 jobs.

KKR and Mirastar have secured funding from Merseyside Pension Fund and Greater Manchester Property Venture Fund to speculatively build XDock at the 3MG multimodal site in Widnes. 3MG is one of LCR Freeport’s three tax sites.

This latest announcement comes after the completion in late 2022 of the Viking Building, also at the 3MG site, which is a 200,000 square foot logistics warehouse.

It is estimated the facility will be ready for occupation by mid-2025. The number of jobs created will depend on who the occupier is and what their requirements are. It could be a relocation from within the city region which means the net jobs gain would be lower.

Through the planned LCR Freeport Skills Academy, the Freeport team, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and local education providers will work to ensure local people have the skills needed to benefit from the employment opportunities.

Halton Council is also set to benefit from XDock with the authority seeing around £2m a year in business rates during the 20-year life of the warehouse.

Tom O’Brien, chair of the LCR Freeport[1] board, said: “This new development is a significant demonstration of the private sector’s confidence in the city region’s economy and is a real example of inclusive growth in action.

“Here we have an initiative that could create 500 good quality jobs, at all levels, giving real opportunities to local people and a shot in the arm for the local economy.

“And it will help Halton Council’s continuing investment in regeneration projects that will make the area an even more attractive place to live, work and visit.”

LCR Freeport went live in January 2023[2] with an initial £25m from the Government. Freeports are designated zones where normal tax and customs rules do not apply.

These can be airports or other hubs as well as maritime ports. At a Freeport, imports can enter with simplified customs documentation and without paying tariffs.

LCR Freeport’s primary customs sites are the Port of Liverpool in Seaforth and at Liverpool John Lennon Airport. It stretches to Port Salford at the other end of the Manchester ship canal.

There are also three tax zones – Wirral Waters, the £100m Parkside scheme in St Helens and the 3MG site. The Freeport will also encompass other industrial and logistics sites.

XDock, Freeport CGI of the £65m XDock scheme which could see the creation of 500 jobs

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram added: “The LCR Freeport is already proving it has the potential to attract investment and create more well-paid, highly skilled jobs for local people.

“However, I have always been clear that I only want to use our status as a force for good. I want to attract investors who believe in our local ambitions and will work with us to protect workers’ rights and uphold standards.”

Investment for the XDock project from the Merseyside and Manchester funds has come via CBRE Lending. 

Peter Wallach, director of pensions at Merseyside Pension Fund, said: “We are pleased to be working with our Northern LGPS pool partners in supporting the regeneration and levelling up of this key development zone in the North West.”

And Ekaterina Avdonina, chief executive  and co-founder at Mirastar, KKR Real Estate’s industrial and logistics platform in Europe, also said: “KKR and Mirastar remain acquisitive for best-in-class developments and funding projects.

“In this challenging environment, it is a testament to the team to be able to get such a large deal over the line. We remain committed to the UK logistics and industrial sector and are excited to partner with the team at Marshall CDP on this project.”


  1. ^ LCR Freeport (www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk)
  2. ^ LCR Freeport went live in January 2023 (lbndaily.co.uk)
  3. ^