UK multimodal logistics specialist Maritime Transport has opened a new rail-connected distribution terminal at the Port of Tilbury to the east of London. 

Maritime has been on site at Tilbury for 15 years and has relocated to a new facility with rail connectivity near London Container Terminal, the port said.

Handling mostly steel for distribution to Europe and rest of the world, Maritime will use an existing terminal railhead that has been converted to allow both straddle carriers and reach stackers to operate simultaneously, which will double the handling capacity of the terminal. The terminal will handle both intermodal and specialised steel wagons from the first day of operation, Maritime said.

It can accommodate both domestic and international and EU trade in the new terminal. A 55,000 sq ft (5,000 sqm) moveable ‘Rubb shed’ was relocated from another part of the port to the site to provide rail connected undercover storage.

Dave Boomer, CEO of Maritime Transport, commented: “Being rail connected is essential for us, as we maintain current customer relationships and look to grow our intermodal business, which launched earlier this year, to help improve both ours and our customers eco credentials. We’re delighted with the new site and are confident that our relocation will benefit our customers.” 

Peter Ward, commercial director at the Port of Tilbury, said: “It’s great to see this new facility for Maritime open. We have worked with them for a long time and it was important that the port invested in this new facility for their growing business. Maritime’s terminal provides a bespoke facility with easy access to our rail connections. The site that Maritime were previously located on the port will now become part of the Tilbury2 development area”

In January (HYPERLINK TO:, Maritime Transport announced the formation of a new division – ‘Maritime Intermodal’ – which will initially contract four daily dedicated services to and from each of the UK’s two leading container ports, Felixstowe and Southampton that are currently already run by DB Cargo, in a 10-year partnership with DB CargoUK that the two parties claim will increase capacity and competition in the UK intermodal market.

The move effectively brings to an end DB Cargo UK’s attempts to compete as a full-service provider in the UK’s cut-throat intermodal market, with the UK’s largest rail freight operator’s intermodal services having operated on a loss-making basis for several years. DB Cargo UK will instead limit its commercial exposure by focusing on running intermodal rail freight services on behalf of and fully contracted by logistics companies.

The partnership comes at a time of container haulage capacity shortages in the UK, with the UK’s largest container haulage provider Maritime Transport keen to make increasing use of intermodal capacity in order to fulfil its customers’ needs. 

Maritime already chartered some regular scheduled rail freight services to and from the two existing terminals it manages at Tilbury and Birmingham, using DB Cargo, GBRF and Freightliner to provide the train operations.

Under the agreement in principle with DB Cargo UK, the two companies said the long-term agreement “will enable each organisation to operate to its strengths, driving up service and efficiency, which will result in increased intermodal capacity and growth in rail freight”.

DB Cargo UK will be contracted to run Maritime Intermodal’s rail operations out of Felixstowe and Southampton. Maritime Intermodal will take on responsibility for DB Cargo UK’s terminals in Trafford Park, Manchester and Wakefield in West Yorkshire, thus strengthening the road haulier’s national network of strategic hubs.

The two said that Maritime Intermodal was “committed to significant investment in both equipment and ground works at the two sites, improving terminal turnaround times, whilst also increasing container storage capacities. The terminals will remain open-access to both intermodal and non-intermodal services. Maritime Intermodal will retain existing services and seek additional services from all UK ports with all freight operating companies with the intention of increasing its intermodal offering.”

As part of the agreement, Maritime Intermodal will take responsibility for DB Cargo UK’s existing intermodal customers on its Felixstowe and Southampton services. DB Cargo acknowledged that in some cases this would mean customers who regard themselves as competitors to Maritime, with those customers having the option to take whatever commercial decisions they need to.

DB Cargo UK stressed that it would retain and grow its remaining intermodal business including key flows to and from Scotland, services that were operated under contract for specific customers.