A £150m river berth is to be built for ferries sailing from the UK to mainland Europe, it has been announced.
P&O Ferries announced the plans for the berth on the Thames at Tilbury Port in Essex, which is run by Forth Ports.
Currently, P&O runs a ferry from Tilbury to Zeebrugge, but the improvements give the firm "scope to look at other routes", it said.
The plans, which include a new terminal, are being funded by Forth Ports.
Under the plan the terminal will be linked directly to the A13 via a new road.
Janette Bell, chief executive of P&O Ferries, said: "The river berth will enable us to cut our crossing time by one hour to seven hours, meaning that our customers will be discharged an hour earlier at 5am, enabling them to bypass the morning rush hour on the M25."
Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, said: "This new long-term partnership with P&O Ferries provides a strong economic and market underpinning of our intended development plans to grow UK trade and create further employment opportunities within Tilbury."