The Government has announced a consultation process for the creation of as many as 10 free ports in Britain, to encourage manufacturing growth in the country.
While the idea has long attracted support from some process industry leaders and supporters of regeneration, opponents have claimed there is evidence such schemes can encourage criminal activities including money laundering.
However Downing Street is enthusiastic about the potential for creating up to 10 areas that could enjoy special tax and tariff status. The idea would be that goods entering the sites would pay no duty if they were subsequently exported without entering the wider UK market.
Successive British governments have tried to find solutions to the decline of scores of coastal towns in the UK that have lost traditional industries and seen tourism wane, with freeports frequently cited as a possible answer.
Also, while the focus is likely to be upon these areas, it is expected that inland areas that have no actual ports could be eligible too for new special zone status.
The idea has met with almost unanimous criticism though from opposition parties, which say the actual benefits to communities and the local economy would be slight.
While the European Union operates more than 80 free zones in its jurisdiction, it recently introduced tighter regulations on their operation following concerns about the potential for criminal activity within the regions.