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  February 14th, 2017 | Written by

Billion Dollar Expansion for London’s Tilbury Terminal

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  • Tilbury expansion will increase the size of the site from 850 to 1,100 acres.
  • Expansion will allow Tilbury to accommodate larger ships.
  • Tilbury handles 60 percent of London port’s traffic with Europe.

The Tilbury container terminal, the principal facility at the port of London, England, will be transformed with a $1.25 billion expansion.

The project will adding a deep-sea jetty for ships from Europe and will increase the size of the site from 850 to 1,100 acres—allowing Tilbury to accommodate larger ships from Africa, India,and the Far East.

Tilbury is the United Kingdom’s third-largest container terminal, dealing with 60 percent of the port’s traffic with Europe. The new berths are designed to meet rising demand for building materials. The terminal handled 40 million bricks last year, as well as food, steel, and consumer goods between Europe and the UK.

Tilbury is also where Jaguar Land Rover ships cars to South America and second-hand cars and construction machinery depart for west Africa. Shipments of recycled materials are also handled at the port.

Around half of the investment at Tilbury will be made by tenants. Amazon is constructing its largest fulfillment center in Britain on the site, tripling its employee numbers at Tilbury from 4,000 to 12,000 in the next decade. More retailers may also decide to package their goods on site at the port, rather than moving them to a separate site for distribution.

Officials of Forth Ports, the owner of Tilbury, see positives and negatives to expanding before the UK embarks on Brexit. Increased tariffs after Brexit will mean more pressure on supply chains to generate efficiencies.

Tilbury also faces competition from the DP World London Gateway Terminal which is capable of handling 9,000-TEU containerships.

Forth Ports expects Tilbury to grow its cargo numbers to 32 million tons by 2026. Increased demand for food, clothing, and entertainment in London will drive the growth. Cargo at the port has increased 30 percent since 2010 and rose eight percent in 2016 over 2015.

Trade at the Port of London reached its high for the decade in 2016, increasing 10 percent to top 50 million tons for the first time since 2008.