Forth Ports Group reported a 20% increase in unaccompanied freight volumes between Tilbury and Zeebrugge in December using the newest port in the country, Tilbury2.
P&O Ferries has added an additional freight ferry vessel to the route to cope with demand.
The new terminal uses the latest booking and border technology and streamlined customs procedures through AEO trusted trader status.
Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports Group: “Supply chains are realigning as they seek greater resilience and a low carbon route close to market, and our ports are ideally placed to support through our recent £260 million investment in infrastructure, market leading turnaround times and capacity for growth.
“The coronavirus pandemic has brought the UK’s vulnerabilities to the fore. However, breakdown presents an opportunity for breakthrough to create a more resilient UK.
“Having just completed the construction of a new £250 million Brexit-ready and COVID-19 compliant freight ferry terminal – Tilbury2 – at London’s major port, the opportunities for unaccompanied freight are boundless.
“Breakdown of production lines, unpredictable industrial relations and increasing pan-European lorry driver shortages have led many in the logistics industry to examine the reliability of their current delivery options.
“With passengers largely disappearing from ferries across the North Sea, The Channel and the Irish Sea, the coronavirus epidemic has completely changed the dynamics of the logistics industry.
“In the absence of a cross-subsidy from passengers to freight units, greater exposure of the true end-to-end cost of moving goods is emerging.
“Combine this with the need to abate climate change, reduce road congestion, tackle poor air quality and level up the economies of the regions, the momentum for change is growing.
“By bringing goods closer to the point of consumption or production, we could and should see new ferry and container shipping routes springing up.
“Combine this positive with the greater use of rail for inward distribution, unaccompanied freight is the answer to a number of the questions of our time.”
- Forth Ports is ready for Brexit, with capacity to continue supporting growth of core markets, following £260 million of investment across the three unitised terminals at Grangemouth, Tilbury and Tilbury2 and their rail connections.
- Despite strong pandemic headwinds, Forth Ports’ trade routes have grown substantially.
- The Tilbury-Zeebrugge ro-ro route has recorded 7% annualised growth in the first six months of Tilbury2’s operation.
- While London Container Terminal at Tilbury has added five new routes in 2020 – stretching from north Africa to Norway – with a 35% increase in European trade this year alone.
- Scotland’s largest container port handling 30% of the nation’s exports, Grangemouth has enhanced the frequency of its network connections to northern European’s industrial base through key hubs like Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, with new calls to the Benelux in 2020.