Essex is home to the UK’s most concentrated ports and logistics infrastructure and is a leading UK and European hub for air cargo, import and export operations, retail distribution and portcentric distribution. Essex can enable logistics and distribution businesses to minimise costs, emissions and risks whilst maximising flexibility and efficiency in transport planning as well as ‘future-proof’ supply chains.

Essex combines more than 1,000 acres of port-adjacent, tri-modally connected logistics and distribution sites with a specialist logistics workforce and fast access to UK, European and global markets – by road, rail, sea and air.

Major brands have chosen to locate their distribution centres in Essex. These companies include Aldi, Amazon, Argos, Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative, French Connection, Poundland, Tesco and Next. Other major brands in Essex include Emirates, UPS, Uniserve Group, Costa Coffee and more. Click here to see the list of businesses located in Essex.

“Having two international seaports and an airport in the county gives us good access to our major markets. For UK deliveries, we’re close to our major trunk roads and the M25 with links to the national motorway network.”

Anthony Knight
Finance Director
Martindale Pharma

Emirates daily flight to London Stansted Airport

Global, multimodal transport connectivity

Locating in Essex provides logistics and distribution businesses with world-class multimodal infrastructure and global transport connectivity. Excellent road and railway infrastructure in Essex provides rapid transportation of cargo and freight throughout the UK and Europe.  Essex has:

  • 4 major sea ports: DP World London Gateway, Tilbury, Harwich and Purfleet ports offer large freight capacities, high-frequency deep-sea and short-sea services and the ability to handle all cargo types – lo-lo (containers), ro-ro (ferries), general, dry bulk, liquid bulk and vehicles.
  • 6 portside rail freight terminals providing businesses with high-frequency connections to distribution hubs and markets in the UK and continental Europe (via the Channel Tunnel)
  • 2 London airports including the UK’s 3rd biggest air freight hub by capacity, London Stansted Airport, and London Southend Airport which was voted Which? Best London Airport 2017.
  • Direct motorway access to UK and European markets via the M25 London motorway, which is only a 30 mins drive from key portcentric sites.
  • Access to high-value markets – direct access to the UK’s (and one of Europe’s) largest and highest income markets (London and South East England).

Infrastructure and major distribution sites

Essex offers more than 1,000 acres of tri-modally connected, portcentric or port-adjacent logistics sites available for development, which is significantly more logistics space than other UK portcentric locations can offer.

Essex’s key portcentric, tri-modal logistics sites include:

  • London Gateway Logistics park, Thurrock – 560 acres / 9 million sq ft of development land with planning in place, accommodating units up to 1 million+ sq ft.
  • Thames Enterprise Park, Thurrock – up to 400 acres of logistics space, available for development.
  • London Distribution Park, Tilbury – 700 acres / 900,000 sq ft of development land to accommodate units up to 670,000 sq ft. ‘Ready to go’ with infrastructure in place.

Major cost savings

A logistics location in Essex enables cost effective direct distribution of imported cargo to reach almost 50% of the UK’s GDP and 35% of its population within 2.5 hours’ drive by truck. This creates a greener solution involving fewer journeys and less intermediate handing. Essex also offers 3 ro-ro routes to ports at the heart of the Dutch and Belgian transport network, facilitating 24 hour transport to and from these countries and much of Germany.

According to industry research [Drewry, based on London Gateway] shipping to and from portcentric distribution sites from Essex can reduce round-trip transport costs by:

  • Around £189 per container shipped to London and the South East
  • Around £59 per container shipped to the Midlands and North West

For businesses serving European and global markets, Essex’s cost-effectiveness is further enhanced by:

  • Europe’s best major location for ‘ease of doing business’ – the UK [World Bank]
  • Significant labour cost savings versus major continental European logistics hubs including Rotterdam, Hamburg and Antwerp
  • A more flexible labour market (UK) than any continental European competitor country [World Bank]

Large-scale, skilled logistics workforce

Essex has a talent pool of 35,000 people working in port, logistics and related activities in Essex. There is also a larger available workforce for logistics occupations than other UK locations including Felixstowe, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Leicestershire.

Essex offers a logistics workforce that is outstanding in the UK, with more workers than other UK locations in the key logistics categories of ‘Elementary Occupations’, ‘Transport and Storage’ and ‘Skilled Trades’ (as % of total workforce) [ONS, 2015].

The two universities in Essex, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Essex, have graduate courses in subjects including Supply Chain Management as well as Transport and Logistics which give investors access to a highly talented, youthful workforce.

  • The Essex Business School at the University of Essex delivers ports and logistics-related post-graduate courses including “Global Supply Chain and Operations Management” and “Supply Chain and Logistics – Technology Management”.
  • South Essex College delivers a Level 3 Diploma in ‘Business, Logistics and Supply Chain’ from its £45 million Thurrock Campus.
port of tilbury aerial


Robert Edge

+44 (0) 7740 179497

Following a ten year career with a major Colchester freight forwarder shipping everything from confectionery to oxygen plants, Robert has spent almost 15 years in inward investment promotion. Having had experience in China, India and the Middle East, Robert leads on the logistics and renewables sector.