On 26 February 2018 P&O Ferries announced that it had reached agreement with Forth Ports to move to a purpose-built £150 million river berth on the Thames at the Port of Tilbury, which will treble its freight capacity to 600,000 units a year by 2020.

The integrated ferry and logistics company – which last month reported that it carried more freight between Zeebrugge and Tilbury in 2017 than in any other year in the history of the route – expects the new capacity at Tilbury to give it an unrivalled service for anyone exporting to or from London and the South East. The new terminal will be built subject to planning permission.

An application for a development consent order (DCO) for Tilbury2 was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in October 2017. Tilbury2 intends to build on a 152-acre site which was part of the former Tilbury Power Station and will include a new deep water jetty in the river Thames.

Janette Bell, Chief Executive of P&O Ferries, said: “I am looking forward to working closely with the team at Forth Ports to relocate our operation on the Thames to a state of the art new terminal and river berth.

“Together with our market leading services across the English Channel, this new facility will enable P&O Ferries to offer customers exporting to or from London and the South East genuine alternatives, whether they choose to move their loads in self-drive vehicles or as unaccompanied freight.

“The river berth will enable us to cut our crossing time by one hour to seven hours, meaning that our customers will be discharged an hour earlier at 5am, enabling them to bypass the morning rush hour on the M25. The punctuality and reliability of the quay to quay service will be further enhanced by no longer having to negotiate a lock to exit the port.”

The planned new terminal will be linked directly to the A13 via a new road, providing quick and easy access. It will also have a bespoke layout enabling customers to locate their unit promptly as part of a 30-minute gate to gate turnaround.

Charles Hammond, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “As we prepare for the examination of our development consent order for Tilbury2, this new long-term partnership with P&O Ferries provides a strong economic and market underpinning of our intended development plans to grow UK trade and create further employment opportunities within Tilbury.”