P&O Ferries is set to treble its freight capacity to 600,000 units a year by 2020 after signing a deal with Forth Ports to move to a £150m Thames river berth at the Port of Tilbury.


P&O will use the new berth to expand its freight business to and from London and the South East.

The river berth is part of Forth Ports’ Tilbury2 scheme, which, subject to planning permission, will be built on the former Tilbury Power Station site and will include a new deep water jetty in the river Thames.

Janette Bell, P&O Ferries CEO, said the new facility “will enable P&O Ferries to offer customers exporting to or from London and the South East genuine alternatives, whether they choose to move their loads in self-drive vehicles or as unaccompanied freight".

"The river berth will enable us to cut our crossing time [to Zeebrugge] by one hour to seven hours, meaning that our customers will be discharged an hour earlier at 5am, enabling them to bypass the morning rush hour on the M25.

"The punctuality and reliability of the quay to quay service will be further enhanced by no longer having to negotiate a lock to exit the port."

The planned new terminal will be linked directly to the A13 via a new road, with a 30 minute gate-to-gate turnaround the stated aim.