A new port could be built alongside the major port for London as part of an expansion to cope with rising demand.
Tilbury2 will be built next to the Port of Tilbury on the site of an old power station, owners Forth Ports Group said.
The plans are part of the company's £1bn investment programme for the Essex site and would double the volume available across the quay.
International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said ports played a "key role" in the growth of the UK economy.
Tilbury was a "great example of an ambitious, successful operation which is growing to deliver the capacity businesses need to export products from the UK across the world", he said.
Tilbury2 would be able to cope with increasing demand for building materials and car imports and exports, as well as an increase in ferry traffic to carry consumer goods, food and drink and steel between Europe and the UK, its owners said.
Forth Ports said it envisaged the new port would be open in 2020 and would act as a satellite of the main port.
It is set to include a roll on/roll off ferry terminal, a new facility for importing, processing, manufacturing and distributing construction materials, a storage area for car imports and exports and a "new national strategic rail and road connection".
Forth Ports Group's Chief Executive Charles Hammond said: "Tilbury2 will deliver much needed port capacity to support businesses importing and exporting to-and-from Europe and across the globe at a crucial time for the UK".
The company has put in an application for a development consent order to the Planning Inspectorate in order for the new port to be built.