Cumbria is preparing to push to become a host for one of 10 new freeports to be created in the country.

The government has launched a consultation on creating the freeports, which will have special tariff and duty status.

Stobart Group's Carlisle Lake District Airport announced its intention to become a freeport last year.

The Government wants to confirm the locations this year, so the first could be open as early as 2021.

Following a 10 week consultation, potential freeports will be invited to bid for the status.

A freeport is an area within a geographical boundary, but with different rules to the rest of the country.

Goods which come into the port avoid tariffs and the areas can benefit from other incentives, such as tax breaks.

Other measures could include duties only being paid on final goods, but not on raw materials that are imported into the area.

Although free zones do exist within the EU it is argued the organisation’s rules regarding state aid limit the incentives that can be offered.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson has been one of the biggest advocates of the airport getting freeport status.

He said: "Carlisle Airport, under the auspices of Stobarts, are very interested in making an application to the Treasury in due course and they will also participate in the consultation.

"I think it will be very good for the Borderlands region.

"The challenge will obviously be that there are other ports that are equally as interested.

"The next stage is to make a submission to Government demonstrating why it's a good location and to show the economic advantages it can bring in Carlisle, but it's not just about Carlisle it's about the whole region.

"Borderlands is starting to energise the area but we do need support and investment."

He said a freeport would be an incentive for businesses to come to the area and the location made sense given Carlisle's status as a major centre for the Borderlands.

"It would give sustainable support to the airport itself and put it on a long term secure footing," he said.

At the same time it would "reinforce" other key developments in the area such as the Garden Village and Carlisle Station Gateways project.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said there were a number of potential locations for freeports in the North.

However, improved infrastructure and guarantees of economic growth were required for them to reach their full potential.

“We have a number of international gateways across the Northern Powerhouse, from the Humber to the Mersey, the river Tees to Barrow, that could benefit from incentivised status to attract industry," he said.

"The detail of these proposals will need to guarantee significant additional growth, in particular in trade, to justify their designation.

"Across the North, our ports should be trading goods from Europe to North America and vice versa, if only our rail links across the Pennines in particular were up to it.

"If the government can enhance these links through delivering promised capacity, there is a case for linking these trade flows to specific sectors and the detail for this network of free ports that connect together will be presented as a detailed case in response to the consultation.”