Forth Ports has paid £95m to take full control of a major London shipping port, it has been announced.
The Scottish firm already owned one third of Tilbury Container Services (TCS), but has now acquired the remaining 67 per cent of shares in the company to assume full control.
Forth Ports has been a shareholder in TCS since 1998, when it co-owned the site with AB Ports and DP World. TCS is located within the Port of Tilbury, which is wholly owned by Forth Ports.
The port covers 850 acres and is well positioned for access to the M25 motorway, while it is also close to rail lines which have daily rail services to Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. TCS claims it offers the shortest and most direct route into London, while it is just 30 minutes from the heart of the capital.
It handled about 314,000 containers last year and regularly deals with trade on deep sea routes to South Africa and South America.
Forth Ports chief executive Charles Hammond said: “This is an important acquisition and a major step forward in our plans to grow and develop our ports business.
“We believe that stronger links between our container and distribution customers will provide benefits in the supply chain for them and further underpins our port-centric strategy.
“With 100 per cent ownership of TCS we plan to combine our existing Short Sea container terminal with TCS to create a new container business branded ‘London Container Terminal’.
“The combined terminal will handle close to half a million containers and makes us the third largest single container operation in the UK and one of the few UK ports servicing both deep sea and short sea customers.
“This acquisition further underlines Tilbury’s role as a distribution and transhipment hub for London.”
Forth Ports acquisition of TCS comes after it sold the Ocean Terminal shopping centre in the Leith area of Edinburgh.
London-based real estate investor Resolution Property purchased the 420,000 sq ft shopping centre for an undisclosed amount.
Forth Ports said it sold the shopping centre to focus on its ports business, which includes seven other ports. Six of the ports lie on the Firth of Forth, while the other one is on the Tay in Dundee.
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