A £150 million river berth is to be constructed for ferries sailing from the United Kingdom to mainland Europe, it was announced.
P&O currently runs a ferry out of Tilbury to Zeebrugge, but these improvements give the company "scope to look at other routes".
The plans, including a new terminal, are funded by Forth Ports. Under these, the terminal will be directly linked with A13 via new road.
According to chief executive of P&O Ferries, Janette Bell, the river berth would enable them to cut crossing time by 1 hour to 7 hours, meaning that their customers would be discharged 1 hour earlier at 5:00 a.m., enabling them to bypass morning rush hour on M25.