Feature, Freight News, Sea

Tilbury2 poised for opening

[ May 18, 2020   //   ]

The UK’s largest unaccompanied freight ro-ro terminal at Tilbury2 has taken a step closer to opening with the successful completion of ship trials at the weekend of 16./17 May.

Two of P&O’s chartered freight ferry fleet, the Bore Song and the Norstream, arrived at the new terminal on 17 May where the port team carried out a full test of the marine facilities including manoeuvring and tying up the ship to test the berth; lowering the ship’s ferry ramp to test the pontoon facilities; and carrying out a full risk assessment. The ship trial was a success with a smooth execution of all the test points being achieved.

The ferry terminal, which is due to open next week, has a capacity of 500,000 units and will operate in partnership between the port and P&O Ferries importing and exporting containers and trailers with food, drink, medicines and other vital supplies to-and-from Europe.

The marine works for the new ro-ro terminal were completed in April by  construction firm GRAHAM which are constructing both the marine and land side of the new £200m, 160-acre port.

Tilbury2 has been built on the site of the former Tilbury Power Station on the north bank of the River Thames on the outskirts of London. When fully operational, it will be 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 able to handle the longest freight trains of 775 metres.

Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Tilbury’s owner, Forth Ports, said: “I am extremely proud that we have reached this point with our new port. We are in unprecedented times, both in the UK and globally, and this new unaccompanied terminal at Tilbury2 will ensure that we keep the vital supplies coming into the country as safely as possible, not just now but long into the future. Being a freight only terminal ensures that there is less risk of driver infection and exposure for our own quay workers at the port. The additional capacity of 500,000 units with streamlined customs procedures will enhance national economic resilience I would like to thank our excellent team for achieving this milestone in such challenging times.”

P&O Ferries chief executive, Janette Bell, added: “The successful ship trial at Tilbury2 means that P&O Ferries will soon be able to offer customers even more choice when it comes to moving goods punctually, efficiently and reliably between Britain and Europe. The new berth will make our service faster and will guarantee that goods from Europe can be unloaded and continue their journey onto the M25 before the rush hour – a significant benefit for our customers. Tilbury2 will further strengthen the unrivalled connectivity we offer our customers along the entire east coast of England and demonstrates our commitment to making trade flow during this crisis and beyond.”