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UK’s Newest Ro-Ro and Construction Material Port Opens at Tilbury

Tilbury2 UK's new port opens
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Tilbury2 to mark the port's opening (Forth Ports)

Published Feb 2, 2022 5:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially opened the UK’s newest port terminal using the opportunity to highlight the development of Britain’s trade infrastructure in the post-Brexit era. Known as Tilbury2, the port will act as a satellite of the main port supporting growth in the ferry Ro-Ro trade as well as the import of construction materials.

Located on Thames, Tilbury2 is an addition to the largest multi-modal port complex in the South East, which is also the third largest port group in the UK. The port has an annual throughput of 16 million tons, which will be supplemented by the new facilities.

Visiting the port on Janaury 31, the Prime Minister was given a tour of the country’s largest freight ferry terminal, and the future site of what will become Britain’s biggest construction processing terminal expected to open in about two months. Marking the second anniversary of the UK leaving the EU, the tour also highlighted the new border infrastructure. According to Forth Ports Group, which operates the port, the technology-backed systems will streamline clearing the border using elements such as number plate recognition, and a 12-bay Border Control Post, which will house government agencies making physical checks.

“It was an honor to officially open Tilbury2, the UK’s newest port,” said Johnson. “Freeports are driving trade, investment and jobs right across the country and helping to capitalize on our newfound Brexit freedoms.”

The Port of Tilbury received approval in February 2019 to build a new terminal adjacent to the current port in Thurrock. Tilbury2 was built on a 152-acre site which was part of the former Tilbury Power Station. It includes a roll on/roll off ferry terminal for importing and exporting containers and trailers with goods including food, drink and medical supplies to and from continental Europe on P&O Ferries’ Tilbury-Zeebrugge freight route. The site also handles Tesco’s new refrigerated train service to Scotland’s premier freight hub at the Port of Grangemouth.

When fully operational in two months’ time, the construction materials terminal (CMAT) will use an aggregates conveyor system that stretches for more than a mile and a railhead capable of taking the longest freight trains reaching over 2,500 feet. The CMAT will support importing, processing, manufacturing, and distributing construction materials, delivering the materials from vessels to the terminal for processing before moving onto building projects.

“The burgeoning logistics cluster at Tilbury has been boosted by Thames Freeport status and is primed to be part of global Britain’s future,” said Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports. The company reports investing approximately $340 million to convert the former power station site into the modern port facility.