Port of Tilbury

The Port of Tilbury is located in the south of the county of Essex in the UK.

The Port of Tilbury is located in the south of the county of Essex in the UK.  It is the largest deep water port on the River Thames and is London’s major port providing fast, modern distribution services for the benefit of the south east of England.

Tilbury’s strategic position on the Thames provides a major geographical advantage for transport to and out of London and the South‐East making its location a natural point for distribution. Serving the UK’s market for forest products, general cargo, vehicles, grain and other bulks, the port offers customers excellent transport links to and from the capital and across the South East.

The Port is a significant distribution centre, covering over 850 acres 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, with access to the whole of the UK.

The Port offers

  • 34 operational Berths
  • Over 16 independent working terminals
  • Over 7.5 kilometres of quay
  • Over 500,000 square metres of warehouse space
  • Over 7 km of road within port estate with excellent transport access
  • London’s only Cruise Ship Terminal

The Port is now recognised as Britain’s Greenest Port and has recently been nominated for a number of awards for the outstanding environmental initiatives which have been delivered over the past few years. The Port has also constructed four wind turbines, which are now fully operational and provide 50% of the Ports’ power.

A strategic logistics location

  • Part of the greatest concentration of logistics operations supporting London.
  • Handles over 12.5 million tonnes of cargo per year with approximately 3000 cargo ships accessing the port annually.
  • 70 percent of the UK’s population within a 100-mile radius. 
  • Europe's only specialist ShortSea terminal handling 120,000 containers each year.
  • UK’s third largest container port, handling 80 percent of London’s container traffic.
  • Three rail terminals on site with direct rail connections to all major commercial centres in the UK.
  • 7 miles from M25 motorway and national motorway network.
  • 500,000 square metres of warehouse space.
  • Natural distribution point for Thames Gateway.
  • Four London airports within 1 hour’s drive for onward access to international markets.

Accessible location

Tilbury is ideally located on the River Thames and has the greatest potential of any port for onward movement of cargo via the river Thames into London.

The Port of Tilbury is in the heart of the UK consumer market with 30 million consumers, 70 percent of the UK’s population, living within a 100-mile radius.

Fast road and rail links make the Port of Tilbury one of the UK’s most significant distribution centres. Location advantages include:

  • 10 minutes from M25 motorway.
  • Location in the Thames Gateway, the UK’s largest redevelopment zone.
  • 50 minutes by road from London Stansted Airport with direct access to 200 cargo destinations worldwide.
  • 1 hour by road from London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports.
  • 35 minutes by road from London Southend Airport.
  • Convenient access by road to Birmingham (2 hours 30 minutes) and Manchester (4 hours).
  • Three rail freight terminals on site.

“Having the international container port at Tilbury so close by makes it very convenient to support our export markets worldwide.” Mike Skelt, Head of Manufacturing –  Medical, Olympus KeyMed

Port facilities

The port is spread over 3.25 square kilometers (325 hectares) and provides high levels of handling and logistic-related services. It has 34 high-tech berths and over 500,000 square metres of warehouse space. The port has the facilities to handle:

  • Conventional freight.
  • Forest products.
  • Vehicles.
  • Ro-Ro.
  • General cargo and ferry services.
  • Specialist cargo handling for all types of grain and animal feed with high speed tipping facilities, blending and storage. 

Tilbury is the UK's number one port for the importation of forest products, the third largest UK container port (handling 80 percent of London’s container traffic) and the UK's largest grain terminal.

Tilbury’s Enterprise Distribution Centre is a state-of-the-art automated handling and warehouse facility for imported paper products such as newsprint, magazine print and palletised cut paper.

“Access to the Essex ports is an important part of the logistics chain in distributing our products to global customers.” Donna McGrory, Head of Media Relations, SELEX Galileo

Businesses on the site

  • Businesses on the site benefit from strategically-located hub facilities. Leading companies include:
  • Tilbury Container Services provides major distribution centres for foodstuffs, plywood, paper and wine. It has one of the largest purpose-built terminals for refrigerated containers in the northern hemisphere.
  • Uniserve Group, with its headquarters at Tilbury, is the UK’s largest independent freight forwarder.
  • Mostell Food operates the port’s cold store and is a leading temperature controlled service provider in the food supply chain throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.
  • Cemex, the biggest Mexican investor in the UK, has a 1.2 million tonne plant at Tilbury, the only cement plant in the south east of England.
  • Hyundai has used the port as its main car import centre since 1997 with over 400,000 cars handled at the port.
  • Travis Perkins, one of the largest suppliers to the UK’s building and construction industry.

“Tilbury has been an outstanding facility for us and a trusted partner. We are proud to operate out of this site and alongside a company whose values so closely reflect our own.” - Philip Vaughan, Travis Perkins

Planning for future growth

Future development proposed for the port area includes a 568-space lorry park and 83,613 square metres (900,000 sq feet) of warehouses by 2021.

Robert Edge
Robert Edge

Inward Investment Manager (UK Multimodal Gateway:Essex)

+44 (0) 7740 179497


Following a ten year career with a major Colchester freight forwarder shipping everything from confectionery to oxygen plants, Robert has spent almost 15 years in inward investment promotion. Having had experience in China, India and the Middle East, Robert leads on the logistics and renewables sector.