UK’s largest unaccompanied freight ferry port opens for business

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unaccompanied freight, Forth ports, Tilbury2

After a year of construction, the unaccompanied freight roll on/roll off terminal, located at the edge of London, has opened for business

Tilbury2 is the UK’s largest unaccompanied freight ferry port, the country’s biggest construction processing hub and will see the creation of a new significantly larger rail head which can accommodate the longest freight trains of 775 metres.

The 500,00 unit freight-only facility will operate in exclusive partnership with P&O Ferries and will inject state-of-the-art capacity into the country’s ports sector by utilising a truck driver-free operation at a time when infection control is uppermost in everyone’s mind.

The terminal will import and export containers and trailers with vital supplies for the UK, including food, drink and medicines to and from continental Europe on P&O’s busy Tilbury-Zeebrugge freight route.

The new ro-ro terminal is part of a £250m investment by owner, Forth Ports. The terminal is trusted trader Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accredited and embraces the latest booking and border technology, such as number plate recognition, which ensures that the terminal is Brexit-ready to continue the smooth passage of goods, regardless of the eventual EU-UK settlement.

Graham completed the marine works in April and successful ship trials were carried out on 17 May.

Hope for economic recovery

Charles Hammond, Graham’s chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “This is an important time for the UK as we emerge from the lockdown.

“Our new freight terminal is the country’s most modern ferry port offering a seamless and lower carbon route to the biggest consumer market in Europe, Greater London.

“Despite the current challenges we have delivered a resilient terminal with significant headroom to grow as we pursue our vision of being the nation’s strategic freight gateway to-and-from Europe. We believe that this terminal opening is a symbol of hope for economic recovery.”

Paul Dale, asset & site director at the Port of Tilbury, added: “The switch to a river berth provides significant growth opportunities. P&O can bring in larger vessels, deliver faster vessel turnaround times and – most importantly – get containers and trailers onto an inland barge or the motorway network in under an hour.

“While this enhanced offering will support further growth through the Zeebrugge route and the possibility to expand into other northern European locations, it also provides a critical low carbon delivery alternative through our new rail connection.”

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