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29th January 2018
Undeterred by Brexit and the long term changes it may bring to the country’s trade patterns, Britain’s major ports are embarking on some major expansions and redevelopments which are creating a promising source of new infrastructure work.
Significant new projects are in the pipeline at the ports of Tilbury and Felixstowe whilst the country’s largest port owner, ABP, has ambitious plans for development at its port sites as the global economy strengthens and exports rise.
The Port of Tilbury’s owner, Forth Ports, submitted plans before Christmas to build a new terminal next to its current port in Thurrock on the Thames. The new port, Tilbury2, will be built on a 152-acre site which was is part of the former Tilbury Power Station and is understood to cost up to £120 million. It will form part of a £1bn investment programme underway at Tilbury between 2012-20 which also includes the UK’s largest warehouse, for Amazon UK, which recently started operating.
After doubling its business over the past ten years, the Port of Tilbury is planning to double its volumes over the next 10-15 years (from 16 to 32 million tonnes), partly to cope with rising demand for construction materials and aggregates imports. Set to open by 2020, the plans involve a new roll on/roll off ferry terminal, a construction materials import facility, a storage area for goods such as cars and new road and rail connections.
Further up the East coast, transport secretary Chris Grayling oversaw a ground-breaking ceremony for an expansion at the Port of Felixstowe - the UK’s largest container port - earlier this month.
The scheme involves 13 hectares of new paved container yard and the reclamation of 3.2 hectares of seabed, adding 18,000 TEU of storage capacity to the existing 130,000 TEU at Felixstowe. It will also improve its ability to handle the world’s largest container ships. Glenigan data shows that Volcker Fitzpatrick is the civils contractor on the £32 million project which is set to run for a year.
Meanwhile, on the west coast, ABP, plans to continue the heavy investment seen over recent years at the Port of Garston, near Liverpool. It has recently expanded its Yara terminal and has just completed one of acre of new storage capacity at the port which is seeing increasing volumes from its customer base across North Wales and the North West.
The wider development potential across the company’s estate was highlighted in December with a relaunch in London of ABP Property as a £3.5bn business. With a land bank of 2,372 acres, ABP Property owns sites around 21 UK ports which it believes could create up to 30 million sq ft of space for new logistics, assembly, manufacturing and other businesses that use multimodal transport options.
The company - which is in the middle of a £1 billion, five year investment programme – hopes to persuade customers to expand around its ports. Huw Turner, ABP group head of property, said: “Whether our customers’ business is port-related or not, the size of our estate will enable clients to grow and expand while remaining in the same location. At the same time, occupiers will have the opportunity to expand their reach with the creation of additional buildings across other port locations where land is available for development.”
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