THE Ports of Tilbury and Bilbao have been awarded a Motorways of the Sea grant by the European Commission for the “IBUK – Intermodal Corridor” project.
The aim is to reduce congestion between the Iberian Peninsula and the UK by moving trucks off the road and onto a more efficient multimodal logistics corridor
The UK and Spanish ports have been working together since 2011 to submit a joint funding application to the EU for the Motorways of the Sea grant.
The application to the TEN-T Executive Agency is based on the removal of trucks from western and southern Europen roads, the development of short sea shipping between Spain and the UK and the increased efficiency and volume of freight from the Iberian Peninsula to the United Kingdom.
It is anticipated that over 225M km will be removed from road to short sea over a 15-year period with the aim of eliminating existing bottlenecks within the current road freight route between Spain and the UK.
The Port of Tilbury is the first port in the UK to be successful in securing TEN-T grant funding, which will see major investment at both Tilbury and Bilbao.
At Tilbury, the grant will allow the container terminal to be redeveloped, including new cranes, straddle carriers, a new bespoke IT system and surfacing work.
In Bilbao, the funding will be used for a railhead expansion, connecting to an inland rail terminal 120 km from the port for the transfer of cargo, and investment in new IT systems.
The two ports will jointly develop the IT systems that will allow for advanced transfer of information between the ports and parties involved in the transfer of the cargo between them.
The estimated total cost of the project is €31.989M (£25.2M) of which funding of €7.299M (£5.75M) is being granted between Tilbury and Bilbao. Tilbury will receive a total of €4.266 (£3.36M) in grant funding.
Perry Glading, COO of Forth Ports, owners of the Port of Tilbury, said:
“We are delighted the Port of Tilbury has been awarded this important funding. This recognises the growing importance of developing Motorways of the Sea connections between the Iberian Peninsula and the UK.
“This substantial award will see further development of our short sea container operations within London Container Terminal over the next two years as well as achieving a modal shift from road to sea and improving overall efficiencies in the supply chains between the two countries.”
The project must be completed by the end 2014 to qualify for the full funding