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New giant grain silos built after explosion at Tilbury docks near Gravesend


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Ten giant metal silos have been built at the Port of Tilbury following an explosion and fire which damaged part of its grain terminal.

A major incident was confirmed at the port, across the river Thames from Gravesend, and nearby residents reported how houses were shaken by the explosion on July 3 last year.

Aerial images of the grain terminal at the Port of Tilbury
Aerial images of the grain terminal at the Port of Tilbury

Fire crews arrived to find a concrete grain silo was on fire, and one person was taken to hospital after breathing in smoke.

No one was seriously injured, and work got under way earlier this year to rebuild the grain terminal - reaching a milestone this month with the construction of ten new metal silos.

With a height of 30 metres, and a total combined capacity of 20,000 metric tonnes, the silos are said to be built to an "industry leading design", and the port says they will be back in operation for the 2022 harvest.

Demolition of the damaged concrete silos at the terminal is also now complete and the port will shortly appoint a contractor to replace them.

It aims to return to the original storage capacity and full operations in 2023.

Fire crews were called to the port of Tilbury after an explosion. Picture: @TonyRAgg
Fire crews were called to the port of Tilbury after an explosion. Picture: @TonyRAgg

Peter Ward, Commercial Director at The Port of Tilbury said: “The sight of the completed ten new grain silos at the grain terminal is great to see. The terminal is a key facility in the South-East of England and an essential part of the UK agricultural supply chain for imports and exports.

"These new metal silos will be ready for the 2022 harvest and once the concrete silo is rebuilt, the terminal will be back to full capacity on one site. Although there has been no interruption to our service throughout the rebuild, we would like to thank our customers for supporting us during this difficult period as we rebuild the facility.”

The Tilbury Grain terminal has been in operation for over 50 years and is a key strategic facility in the South-East for the grain import and export markets, handling over two million tonnes of product from around the world every year.

Grain is a key commodity in the UK food supply chain for a number of uses, most notably within the flour milling and bakery industries.

The port says there has been no interruption to customer service during the works.

Concrete silos were damaged in the incident. Picture: @TonyRAgg
Concrete silos were damaged in the incident. Picture: @TonyRAgg
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