Feature, Freight News, Sea

Tilbury breaks ground on London Distribution Park

[ November 25, 2014   //   ]

Treasury secretary Priti Patel (pictured, driving JCB) officially launched construction of the Port of Tilbury’s new London Distribution Park on 25 November. At the turf-cutting ceremony, Perry Glading, chief operating officer at Forth Ports-owned Tilbury also revealed that builders’ merchant Travis Perkins would be the Park’s first tenants, and are expected to open a 108,000sq ft distribution and consolidation centre early next year.

Glading said that the new Travis Perkins DC would occupy around 10% of the total space at the 1m sq ft development, creating 124 new jobs. The company is already an active user of the port, but expects to increase its activity once the new site at LDP is open, he added. “The south-east construction market is currently very buoyant,” Glading told FBJ. “We expect Travis Perkins to import around 40-50,000 tonnes of building materials a year, such as timber, steel and bricks – of which there is currently a shortage in the UK.”

Glading continued that Forth Ports had had “sensible enquiries” for the other parts of LDP, which would eventually create a total of 1,100 jobs. Other users include shippers or third-party logistics operators. Other more specialised “chill-related” warehousing developments were also earmarked for within the Tilbury dock estate itself, he said.

Meanwhile, there had been “a slight uplift” in Tilbury’s core container business of 3-4% following the move away of several major lines to the nearby London Gateway port. He said: “I think the London Gateway effect may have worked through for us now, although not for the market as a whole which has clearly been destabilised.”

Priti Patel confessed to being “blown away” by the level of investment in LDP, describing it as “an amazing project” and a major driver of economic growth. She told FBJ that it was the type of long-term, partnership approach to investment that the government wished to encourage and that Tilbury would gain from its unique connection to sea, road and rail networks.

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