Monday, December 18, 2017

Increased Freight and Logistics Activity Prompts Billion Pound Development of Port

New Facility to Handle RoRo Ferries, Container Ships, Construction Materials and Cars
Shipping News Feature
UK – It would seem, despite the development of the 'Northern Powerhouse', that the thirst for growth in the London and South Eastern region continues unabated with news that the Port of Tilbury has submitted an application for a development consent order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate to build a new terminal adjacent to the current port in Thurrock. This expansion comes despite the recent introduction of the deep water facilities at DP World's London Gateway which has also been so successful at attracting container shipping customers to its own growing logistics park.

Tilbury of course became the region’s premier port when the facilities in the London Royal Docks were closed and largely redeveloped between the 1960’s and ‘80’s and, although having adapted somewhat from general cargo to container traffic, was unable to resist the growth of ports such as Southampton and particularly Felixstowe. Now the new facility, to be built on a 152-acre site which was part of the former Tilbury Power Station, will form a central part of the Port of Tilbury’s £1 billion investment programme and is to be called Tilbury2.

Details of the scheme were first revealed earlier this year and will include a deep water jetty and also hold the UK's largest warehouse at the port’s second extension site, the 70-acre London Distribution Park, built for Amazon UK and which began operating this autumn. Tilbury says it has doubled the size of its business in the past ten years and says it is projected to double the volume across the quay (from 16 million to 32 million tonnes) and triple the direct employment (from 3,500 to 12,000 jobs) over the next 10-15 years.

Owner Forth Ports says this seemingly inexorable expansion in the region means it needs to cope with rising demand for construction materials and aggregates from the UK's building sector, imported and exported cars, as well as an increase in ferry traffic, which carries consumer goods, perishables (food and drink) and steel between Europe and the UK. The new River Thames crossing which is proposed for the adjacent area is also likely to increase freight traffic locally.

If on schedule, Tilbury2 will be operational in Q2 2020 and will act as a satellite of the main port with a RoRo ferry terminal for importing and exporting containers and trailers, storage for cars and other goods and a facility for importing, processing, manufacturing and distributing construction materials. New infrastructure to the site will include multimodal road and rail links. Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports Group (owner of the Port of Tilbury), observed:

“As London and the South East grows, Tilbury grows. Tilbury2 will deliver much needed port capacity to support businesses importing and exporting to-and-from Europe and across the globe at a crucial time for the UK. Tilbury2 is a significant part of port’s £1 billion investment strategy as we look to provide the next generation of logistics facilities to equip Britain to take advantage of new business opportunities and cement existing trading relationships.”

Speaking of the new proposals the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, International Trade Secretary, said:

“Ports play a key role in the long term growth of the UK economy, with Tilbury being a great example of an ambitious, successful operation which is growing to deliver the capacity businesses need to export products from the UK across the world. As an international economic department, we will continue to champion the growth of our maritime sector, and we would certainly encourage local businesses to make the most of the fantastic connections Tilbury has to offer.”