MULTIMILLION pound port terminal, Tilbury2, has been approved today with construction scheduled to start within a matter of weeks.

The Secretary of State for Transport gave consent for the UK's fastest growing port, The Port of Tilbury, to begin the essential expansion, in order to keep up with the rising demand for construction materials, as well as imported and exported cars, and an increase in commercial ferry traffic, which carries consumer goods, perishables and steel between Europe and the UK.

The build is also set to increase direct employment from 3,500 to 12,000 jobs over the next ten to 15 years.

Construction of the port, which will include a new rail and road connection, deep water jetty and pontoon, will bring the project cost to in excess of £200 million.

The contractor to complete the build has been appointed and will be announced soon.

Once the privately funded, Tilbury2, becomes operational in Spring 2020, it will be the UK’s largest unaccompanied ferry port and the country’s biggest construction processing hub, with AEO-trusted trader status.

Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports Group (owner of the Port of Tilbury), said: “This is great news for the UK at a time when the country needs its ports more than ever before. Tilbury2 will deliver much needed port capacity to support businesses importing and exporting to and from Europe and the rest of the world.

"The terminal will be fit-for-purpose for the UK’s departure from the European Union, utilising the latest technology and streamlined border processes, in support of continued market demand created by business growth.

“By 2020, £1billion will have been invested in Tilbury’s expansion plans, including Tilbury2 and the 55-acre London Development Park, with the full backing of our shareholders.”

The terminal will be adjacent to the current 930 acre site in Thurrock, on the outskirts of Greater London.

The port will be built on a site covering in excess of 150 acres, which was part of the location of the former Tilbury Power Station, and 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 Ferrie, a facility for importing, processing, manufacturing and distributing construction materials, a strategic rail terminal which can accommodate the longest freight trains of 775m. as well as this, there will be storage areas for a variety of goods, including exported and imported cars.

Tilbury2 is central to the Port of Tilbury’s £1billion investment programme during 2012-20.

Tilbury has doubled the size of its business in the past 10 years and is projected to double the volume of cargo across the quay from 16 million to 32 million tonnes.