A £150m expansion to the Port of Tilbury in Essex has been given the green light. Construction of 'Tilbury2' is scheduled to start next month with the intention to be operational by Spring 2020. The redevelopment project will add new Ro-Ro freight ferry capacity near London.
The western part of the old Tilbury Power Station is proposed to be the site of Tilbury 2 and is expected to create over 200 construction jobs. The site will feature a new Ro-Ro ferry terminal.
Upon completion, Tilbury2 will be the nation's largest port for unaccompanied freight. Port of Tilbury says that the additional room is essential to meet demand for construction materials, cars and other goods.
Designed by the Peterborough office of consultant Atkins, it will require an infrastructure corridor to accommodate road and two rail links to the existing rail and road network. On the marine side, an existing jetty on the river will be lenghtened to accommodate three vessels at any one time.
Chief Executive of owner, Forth Ports Group, Charles Hammond has said;
"This is great news for the UK at a time when the country needs its ports more than ever before. Tilbury2 will deliver much needed port capacity to support businesses importing and exporting to and from Europe and the rest of the world. The terminal will be fit-for-purpose for the UK's departure from the European Union, utilising the latest technology and streamlined border processes, in support of continued market demand created by business growth."
By 2020, £1bn will have been invested in Tilbury's expansion plans, including Tilbury2 and the 55-acre London Development Park. The port's long term growth strategy forsees a doubling of cargo volume and a tripling of employment within 15 years.
P&O Ferries has announced that they will be moving to the new Ro-Ro terminal. This move has the potential to treble their freight capacity to 600,000 units a year by 2020. P&O reported last month that it carried more freight between Zeebrugge and Tilbury in 2017 than in any other year in the history of the route, demonstrating the importance of the port to their business operations. They hope that the new capacity will give them an unrivalled service for anyone exporting to or from London and the South East.
Janette Bell, the Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, said;
"I am looking forward to working closely with the team at Forth Ports to relocate our operation on the Thames to a state of art new terminal and river berth... this new facility will enable P&O Ferries to offer customers exporting to or from London and the South-East genuine alternatives, whether they choose to move their loads in self-drive vehicles or as unaccompained freights. "
The river berth will enable them to cut their crossing time by one hour to seven hours, meaning customers will be discharged an hour earlier at 5am and can bypass the morning rush on the M25.