In September, Port of Tilbury, London’s major port, marks the 50th anniversary of its grain terminal, the UK’s largest terminal for the import and export of grain.
Built at a cost of £53.5 million in today’s money, the grain terminal has processed over 35 million tonnes of product since opening in 1969. It currently handles two million tonnes of grain, wheat, barley and beans every year to help meet the UK’s import and export requirements.
A vital supplier to major global brands, grain is handled at the terminal daily through its import and export capability and is a key supporter of the agriculture industry in the south east of England as well as the flour milling and bakery industries. The terminal regularly handles cargoes from in and out of the UK and to countries across the world from the USA and Canada to France, Thailand and Australia.
With two grain towers on site, the terminal can discharge and load vessels simultaneously and with a five-star food hygiene rating the facility has the trust of major companies. The grain terminal is fully automated and linked to the two associated flour mills located within the port.
Grain brought into the terminal can be made into flour to be used for every day goods stocked in supermarkets including pasta, baked goods and malt — used to make beer and the soya found in baby food.
Since Thames Grain was added to the terminal in 1983, it has allowed UK grown grain to be sampled, tested and tipped prior to export. This process is used to support the grain terminal’s major export of UK wheat, barley and human consumption beans to destinations across the world.
Peter Ward, Commercial Director at The Port of Tilbury said: “This year marks a special anniversary for Port of Tilbury’s grain terminal which plays a huge role in supplying businesses from around the world with the grain needed to support their brands.
“In half a century the grain terminal has processed over 35 million tonnes of grain, wheat, barley and beans while also assisting in the production of flour in its two associated mills to provide supermarkets with some of their most popular products.
“Port of Tilbury continues to invest in this vital asset to ensure it continues as the largest terminal for the import and export of grain in the country for the next 50 years.”
The Tilbury Grain terminal is the key strategic facility in the South East of the UK for the grain import and export markets handling grain from around the world. The grain terminal has over 200 silos ranging in size from 60 metric tonnes to over 2,000 metric tonnes, supporting the flour and ingredient market for the southeast, London and up to the Midlands. Its berths have space to host post-Panamax vessels — greater than 40,000 tonnes — but can also handle a range of coaster vessels on its inner, outer and coaster berths. The terminal also operates a monthly coastal shipping service from Tilbury to its sister port in Kirkcaldy, Scotland for Carr’s Milling.
Earlier this year, Port of Tilbury completed a major storage expansion at the grain terminal as part of its growth strategy. The new flat store increases the capacity by an additional 16,000 tonnes of both import and export wheat.
About Port of Tilbury
Forth Ports Limited owns and operates Tilbury, alongside seven other commercial ports on the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay: Grangemouth, Dundee, Leith, Rosyth, Methil, Burntisland and Kirkcaldy. In October 2018, PSP Investments became majority shareholder in Forth Ports Limited, to along with other minority co-investors, GLIL Infrastructure, First State Super, Construction and Building Unions Superannuation.
The Port of Tilbury is the number one UK port for forestry products, construction materials, paper, grain, recyclables and warehousing space. The port has a strong market presence in bulk commodities, ro-ro, cars and cruise vessels. The port’s London Container Terminal handles a mix of short and deep sea services, is the UK’s number four port for containers and has the greatest reefer (refrigerated container) point connectivity in Europe.
Tilbury’s strategic location makes it a natural point for distribution, with nearly 20 million people living within 75 miles. Serving the UK’s market, the port offers customers excellent transport links to and from the UK’s capital and across the South East where over 50% of the population live and work.
The port is a diverse multi-modal hub, covering around 1,000 acres (850 acres and the London Distribution Park, in addition to the Tilbury2 site) and is well positioned to access the M25 orbital motorway and the rest of the UK’s national motorway network. In addition, there are direct rail connections within the port and dedicated barge facilities.
On 20 February 2019 the port received development consent from the Secretary of State for Transport to build Tilbury2 — a new multimillion pound port terminal adjacent to the current 930-acre site in Thurrock, on the outskirts of Greater London. Construction is under way and Tilbury2 will be built on a site covering in excess of 150 acres, which was part of the location of the former Tilbury Power Station. When operational in spring 2020, Tilbury2 will be the UK’s largest unaccompanied ferry port and the country’s biggest construction processing hub, with AEO-trusted trader status.
Source: Port of Tilbury