TWO of the Port of Tilbury's key customers have announced they are moving "some" of their services over to London Gateway.

The two container shipping lines, Hamburg-Sud and Hapag-Lloyd, made the announcement by customer notification to the Port of Tilbury on Friday.

The firms told Forth Ports, who own the Port of Tilbury, that they need to use bigger vessels, which Tilbury are unable to accommodate.

The pair will begin using London Gateway, built to accommodate the biggest vessels in the world, from May this year.

A spokesman for Forth Ports, owner of the Port of Tilbury, said: "Clearly we are very disappointed that Hamburg Sud and Hapag-Lloyd have decided to move some of their services from Tilbury.

"We worked hard with them to retain these services at London Container Terminal but we understand their decision was driven by their need to utilise larger vessels.

Southend Standard: ship alongside at London Gateway

London Gateway, which opened earlier this year.

"Both Tilbury and LCT have a number of strengths in particular in the short-sea European and African market as well as feeder and niche markets. We will focus our efforts on a number of opportunities we are pursuing in these growing markets."

London Gateway has now successfully poached three of Tilbury's customers in the last year. In August last year, DP World announced it had reached an agreement with Southern Africa Express Container Service.