Tilbury’s container terminal, which has become a core facility for trade and shipping in London will be expanded with a budget of £1.25 billion.
The update will add a deep-sea jetty which increases the size of the site to 1,100 acres compared to its current 850 acres. Meaning there will be more accommodation for larger ships from traders in Africa, India and in the Far East.
As the UK’s third-biggest container terminal, it deals with 60% of the port’s traffic with Europe. The new berths have been built to match the high demand for increased space and demand for building materials. Handling over 40 million bricks in 2016, along with food, metals and consumer goods exchanged between the UK and Europe.
Jaguar Land Rovers are also shipped from the port to South America, with second-hand vehicles and construction machinery departing for West Africa. Recycling materials are also shipped at the port.
Tenants will be contributing half of the investment.
With Amazon developing their largest fulfilment center in the UK at the Port, increasing employee numbers at Tilbury from 4,000 to 12,000 within a decade. With other retailers planning to use the port as a base for their goods rather than separate sites to distribute, Tilbury is set to become the most influential port in the UK.
Artist impression of Amazon Tilbury site
Officials of Forth Ports, who own the docks, see pros and cons of expanding at the time of an event as major as Brexit. Raised tariffs following Brexit means more pressure has been put on supply chains to generate efficiencies.
The port also has competition from the DP World London Gateway Terminal which can handle 9,000-TEU container ships at a time.
Forth Ports predicts Tilbury to increase cargo numbers to an estimated 32 million tons by 2026. With a constant increasing demand for food, clothing and entertainment in London driving the port’s growth. Since 2010 the port has increased cargo by 30%, rising 8% in 2016 when compared to 2015.
The Port of London reached the height of the decade for their trade in 2016. Topping 50 million tons for the first time since 2008.