New freight ferry port passes dress rehearsal
The country’s newest and largest unaccompanied freight roll on/roll off (ro-ro) terminal at Tilbury2 on the River Thames opposite Gravesend took a step closer to opening with the successful completion of ship trials at the weekend.
Two of P&O’s chartered freight ferry fleet, the Bore Song and the Norstream, arrived at the new ro-ro terminal where the port team carried out a full test of the marine facilities including manoeuvring and tying up the ship to test the berth; lowering the ship’s ferry ramp to test the pontoon facilities; and carrying out a full risk assessment.
The ferry terminal, which is due to open next week, has a capacity of 500,000 units and will operate in partnership between the port and P&O Ferries importing and exporting containers and trailers with food, drink, medicines and other vital supplies to-and-from Europe.
Charles Hammond, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “I am extremely proud that we have reached this point with our new port. We are in unprecedented times, both in the UK and globally, and this new unaccompanied terminal at Tilbury2 will ensure that we keep the vital supplies coming into the country as safely as possible, not just now but long into the future. Being a freight only terminal ensures that there is less risk of driver infection and exposure for our own quay workers at the port. The additional capacity of 500,000 units with streamlined customs procedures will enhance national economic resilience. I would like to thank our excellent team for achieving this milestone in such challenging times.”
Tilbury2 is a new port at the former Tilbury Power Station. When fully operational, it will be the UK’s largest unaccompanied freight ferry port, the country’s biggest construction processing hub and will see the creation of a new significantly larger rail head which can accommodate the longest freight trains of 775metres.
Peter Ward, Commercial Director at the Port of Tilbury, said: “The ship trial at the weekend marks an important milestone for the T2 project. We started construction in Spring 2019 and we are on track to open the first part of the port next week. The marine works were an important part of the project and included constructing a floating pontoon, link-span/articulated bridge, pilings and riverbed preparation for the berth.”
Robin Mortimer, Chief Executive of the Port of London Authority said: “The successful ship trial at Tilbury2 is a major milestone for operations on the Thames. On the doorstep of the UK’s major consumer market, this is the logical place for new marine infrastructure, adding further resilience to supply chains which is essential in these challenging times.”