Plymouth's docklands could be upgraded to make the city a "major player" for freight traffic, city leaders say.
Plymouth City Council, Brittany Ferries and Associated British Ports (ABP) and are working on landing government money for the plan in the Millbay area.
Millbay could also see a new tender pontoon for super yachts and a modern cruise terminal built, leaders said.
Council leader Richard Bingley said freeport status created a "golden opportunity" for the Victorian docks.
Plymouth's bid to become a freeport was given the go-ahead by the government in 2021.
Plymouth City Council, Devon County Council and South Hams District Council have been working to launch it in 2022.
Freeports aim to create economic activity near shipping ports or airports, with imported goods exempt from tariffs normally paid to the UK government on arrival.
Mr Bingley said it was a "golden opportunity for the docks and the city to raise our global investment profile".
He said: "We want more jobs at the port and beyond, more journeys to more destinations, and for Plymouth to be a major player as new freight opportunities arise, particularly as we move towards our freeport status."
The city council said in a statement that it was working with ABP and Brittany Ferries "on a funding strategy for Millbay, which is likely to consider strategic government funding".
Millbay, built by the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was once a key staging post for Atlantic ocean liners.
The docklands are also the subject of a regeneration project to create a new waterfront quarter for Plymouth.
Brittany Ferries boss Christophe Mathieu said the firm was "delighted to be part of this important project".
He said: "A vibrant international port in Plymouth promises benefits for all, for many decades to come."