THE UK’s newest driverless ferry freight terminal has opened in Essex.
Located at Tilbury, the 500,000 unit, freight-only facility will see goods transported into the UK without truck drivers.
The Port of Tilbury was given permission to build new port, Tilbury2 by the government in February 2019.
Tilbury2 will facilitate the trade of food, drink and medicines as well as aggregates and cars to and from mainland Europe.
The roll-on roll-off terminal is part of a £250m investment by owner, Forth Ports.
Containers will be moved on by road and a new rail line currently under construction.
Operating initially between Zeebrugge and Tilbury, the port said it has the capacity to become the UK’s largest unaccompanied ferry port.
The port has the latest booking and border technology, such as number plate recognition, which it claims will ensure it is “Brexit-ready”, regardless of the eventual EU-UK trade settlement.
Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: “Despite the current challenges we have delivered a resilient terminal with significant headroom to grow as we pursue our vision of being the nation’s strategic freight gateway to-and-from Europe.”
Transport minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “The new terminal will provide more capacity and jobs at a vital time, when our world-leading ports will be at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery.”
The port has been built on the site of the former Tilbury power station on the north bank of the River Thames, London.
Paul Dale, at the Port of Tilbury, said when finished the port will be the UK’s largest roll-on, roll-off facility: “While this enhanced offering will support further growth through the Zeebrugge route and the possibility to expand into other northern European locations, it also provides a critical low carbon delivery alternative through our new rail connection.”