Landmark day as Thurrock’s two major ports spearhead campaign for new Freeport

THURROCK’s two major ports, who have forged an alliance, hope today will become a landmark date in the commercial success of the borough.

Today (Monday, 16 November) the Government has launched the competitive bidding process for a wave of freeports to be created across the country. A freeport is seen as a job creation and high-quality development catalyst in an area of severe deprivation and economic need.

Parent companies DP World and Forth Ports are pushing forward their bid for a Thames Freeport with DP World’s London Gateway port and Forth Port’s Port of Tilbury at its heart – together with Ford’s Dagenham engine plant.

Backed by the City Corporation of London, Essex Chamber of Commerce, London First, the Port of London Authority, the Thames Estuary Growth Board, Thurrock Council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, it is planned that Thames Freeport will drive innovation and transform productivity across the South Essex region. Vivid Economics, a leading strategic economics consultancy, is providing economic analysis in support of the bid.

As part of the presentation supporting the new Freeport, its backers say: “With a network of global and European shipping connections, excellent road, rail and river distribution networks, in addition to unrivalled first hand expertise in operating freeports, the Thurrock-based combined port and logistics cluster has the scale to grow the associated aerospace, automotive and many complex manufacturing and processing businesses along the Thames.” 

Both ports have consented development land that is available for expansion now, with the aim to improve the opportunities for skilled jobs, bringing prosperity to the residents of Thurrock and beyond.

“Freeports will be an effective way of underpinning Britain’s economy post-Brexit and post-Covid by further enabling trade with the rest of the world and creating zones which will act as catalysts for commerce, creativity and prosperity,” said Alan Shaoul, DP World UK’s Chief Financial Officer.

He added: “Freeports are part of our DNA. DP World began as a single free trade zone and free port in Dubai, Jebel Ali, while Tilbury was a freeport as recently as 2012 and we are confident we can replicate our recent success in the UK.”

Stuart Wallace, Chief Operating Officer of Forth Ports: “The Port of Tilbury and London Gateway are already the most integrated logistics hubs in the UK, harnessing the best-in-class border technologies, with commanding market leading positions across a range of commodities.

“A Thames Freeport would secure the next stage in the development of our sites, attracting further foreign direct investment, while acting as a testbed for new technologies, including autonomous and electric vehicles, leading to new skills opportunities across the Thames estuary development area.”

Meet the partners
Forth Ports Limited owns and operates Tilbury, alongside seven other commercial ports on the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay: Grangemouth, Dundee, Leith, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy.

The Port of Tilbury is the number one UK port for forestry products, construction materials, paper, grain, recyclables and warehousing space. The port has a strong market presence in bulk commodities, ro-ro, cars and cruise vessels.

The port’s London Container Terminal handles a mix of short and deep-sea services, is the UK’s number four port for containers and has the greatest reefer (refrigerated container) point connectivity in Europe. Tilbury’s strategic location makes it a natural point for distribution, with nearly 20 million people living within 75 miles.

Serving the UK’s market, the port offers customers excellent transport links to and from the UK’s capital and across the South East where over 50% of the population live and work. The port is a diverse multi-modal hub, covering around 1,000 acres (850 acres and the London Distribution Park, in addition to the Tilbury2 site) and is well positioned to access the M25 orbital motorway and the rest of the UK’s national motorway network. In addition, there are direct rail connections within the port and dedicated barge facilities.

The £250m Tilbury2 project consists of the construction of a new port terminal and associated facilities and once fully open in late 2020, Tilbury2 will comprise:
● A roll on/roll off ferry terminal for importing and exporting containers and trailers to northern Europe, in partnership with P&O Ferries
● A facility for importing, processing, manufacturing and distributing construction materials
● A strategic rail terminal which can accommodate the longest freight trains of 775m
● Storage areas for a variety of goods, including exported and imported cars.
● The site will be trusted trader Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) accredited and will employ the latest border technology, such as number plate recognition.

DP World are the leading provider of smart logistics solutions, enabling the flow of trade across the globe. Its comprehensive range of products and services covers every link of the integrated supply chain – from maritime and inland terminals to marine services and industrial parks as well as technology-driven customer solutions.

DP World says: “We deliver these services through an interconnected global network of 123 business units in 54 countries across seven continents, with a significant presence both in high-growth and mature markets. Wherever we operate, we integrate sustainability and responsible corporate citizenship into our activities, striving for a positive contribution to the economies and communities where we live and work.

“Our dedicated, diverse and professional team of more than 56,500 employees from 134 countries are committed to delivering unrivalled value to our customers and partners. We do this by focusing on mutually beneficial relationships – with governments, shippers, traders, and other stakeholders along the global supply chain – relationships built on a foundation of mutual trust and enduring partnership.

“We think ahead, anticipate change and deploy industry-leading technology to create the smartest, most efficient and innovative trade solutions, while ensuring a positive and sustainable impact on economies, societies and our planet.”

Follow DP World in the UK on: Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Vivid Economics is a leading strategic economics consultancy with global reach and the company says: “We strive to create lasting value for our clients, both in government and the private sector, and for society at large.

“We are a premier consultant in the policy-commerce interface and resource- and environment-intensive sectors, where we advise on the most critical and complex policy and commercial questions facing clients around the world. The success we bring to our clients reflects a strong partnership culture, solid foundation of skills and analytical assets, and close cooperation with a large network of contacts across key organisations.”

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