A £200m port project on the outskirts of London has been given the go ahead to provide UK businesses with much-needed extra port capacity.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has approved the project, meaning work on ‘Tilbury 2’ is scheduled to start next month at the port terminal adjacent to the current 930 acre site in Thurrock.
Expansion is essential for the Port of Tilbury to cope with rising demand for construction materials and aggregates from Britain's construction sector, imported and exported cars, and an increase in commercial ferry traffic.
The current port has doubled in size in the past 10 years and is projected to double the volume of cargo across the quay (from 16 million to 32 million tonnes) and increase direct employment (from 3,500 to 12,000 jobs) over the next 10—15 years.
Preliminary works are already underway and construction of the scheme is set to commence in mid-March. The new port will include; a new rail and road connection, a roll on/roll off ferry terminal, an extended river jetty, new storage areas, and a facility for importing, processing, manufacturing and distributing construction materials.
Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports Group, said £1bn will have been invested in Tilbury’s expansion plans by 2020.
He added: “This is great news for the UK at a time when the country needs its ports more than ever before. Tilbury 2 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.
International law firm Pinsent Masons has enabled Forth Ports Group – which owns the port - to secure a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the Port of Tilbury.
Pinsent Masons has been advising Forth Ports Group on the scheme since December 2016 and has been instrumental in securing the DCO over the following 26 months.
The firm advised on all aspects of applying for and obtaining the DCO including demonstrating the need for Tilbury2 and its benefits; dealing with all objections and negotiations with stakeholders; running the six month public examination of the proposals; and ensuring that the legislation for the construction and operation of Tilbury2 is integrated with the legislation applying to the current Port of Tilbury.
Robbie Owen, lead partner at the law firm, hailed the collaborative working relationships which have been established in obtaining the DCO in just over two years.
"This is a major milestone for Tilbury2 and an essential part of the Port of Tilbury's wider investment programme,” he added. “We have been delighted to have been involved in Tilbury2 since it became a DCO scheme and the terms of the Government's decision are a credit to the strong need for the scheme, its benefits, and the way in which it has been promoted by the port.”