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Sea and Air Freight update from Operations Director Barry Broughton

Sea and Air Freight updates UK, Europe and Worldwide

We are pleased that key short sea trade route capacity has been secured between Britain and European mainland, with the Government signing agreements with six operators to provide up to £35 million of support for these critical routes.

In the UK Sea Freight news – Tilbury 2 the new UK freight ferry port, completed successful ship trials last weekend, and are on schedule for full opening next week.


Tilbury 2 is situated outside London, this is the UK’s newest and largest unaccompanied freight roll on/roll off (ro-ro) terminal. The multimillion-pound port terminal is adjacent to the current 930-acre site in Thurrock and once fully open, it will comprise of:

– 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.

Two of P&O’s chartered freight ferry fleet, the Bore Song and the Norstream, arrived at the new ro-ro terminal on the Thames on Sunday 17 May, 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.

Tilbury2 roroThe ferry terminal 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.

The port has been built on the 160 acre site of the former Tilbury Power Station, on the north bank of the River Thames on the outskirts of London. When fully operational, Tilbury 2 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 that can accommodate the longest freight trains of 775 metres.

Tilbury2 before and afterForth Ports group CEO Charles Hammond, said: “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.”

It will be some time before worldwide sea freight returns to the more stable situation we have been experiencing in the last couple of years, but the recent upturn in demand means ocean freight networks are reducing blank sailings and working to ensure equipment is in the right locations, to ensure availability and reliability over the next few months as the global economy starts again.

Air Freight demand and supply is more difficult to predict. Rates are high, but more stable, therefore becoming more manageable for those needing urgent shipments, in most cases rates now back into single digits out of China.

But we urge you to make shipping decisions quickly as prices and availability don’t hold in this current market.
Contact one of the team on +44(0) 1622 237979 email


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