Our website uses cookies so that we can provide a better service. Continue to use the site as normal if you're happy with this, or find out how to manage cookies.


Brewery tanks' 34-mile trip through central London

Eight giant fermenting vessels recently travelled 34 miles through London by river, highlighting the Thames’ capacity for carrying special one-off ‘project’ cargoes.

The stainless steel tanks added to trade on the Thames, the busiest inland waterway in the country, when they were moved from the Guinness brewery at Park Royal to the Port of Tilbury for onward shipment to other destinations. The tanks weighed 18 tons each and were 16 metres long by nearly 6 metres wide. 

The contract to move the brewery tanks was won by Speedrite, who specialise in moving large plant and machinery. Thames Wharfingers handled arrangements for moving the tanks via the Thames from Isleworth in west London, through central London, and on to Tilbury in Essex.

The tanks were loaded on to barges at a drawdock on the Thames at Isleworth and then towed by tugs from Thames-based companies AC Bennett and Sons and J.T. Palmer & Sons. Isleworth was the starting point for the 2004 journey of a Concorde fuselage on a special barge through London and out to the sea by river.
The Port of London Authority (PLA) worked closely with the companies involved to plan the shipment of the tanks. David Foster, PLA deputy harbour master for the Thames in central and west London said:

“The movement of these abnormal loads by tug and barge on the river from west London, through the capital and out to Tilbury, needed careful planning to make sure they made the most of the tide and avoided any particularly shallow parts of the river. This kind of shipment underlines the importance of our continuing work to increase use of the River and keep the movement of outsized loads off London’s crowded roads. In the run up to the construction of key developments like the Olympics, we expect the demand for these project cargo movements to really take off.”

For more information, contact: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority. Tel: 01474 562366. Email: martin.garside@pla.co.uk