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08.04.2007

Call for action on London container port

Port of London Authority chairman, Simon Sherrard, has called for Government to approve without further delay the long awaited London Gateway, a container port and business park development that DP World plans for the north bank of the Thames in Essex.

Speaking at the annual Port of London Reception, he told more than 200 leaders of the port and shipping community that securing permission to develop the container port was essential not just for the capital, but for the wider UK too. He said:

“Ports and shipping are dynamic sectors which compete internationally. Our direct competitors have built new container facilities in the time the UK has taken to make decisions on whether to build these facilities.

“We continue to do all we can to help make London a competitive and welcoming place to do business, for example keeping increases in our port fees below the level of inflation year on year. This has helped give companies operating on the Thames confidence to move quickly to meet demand for new services. As a result, many millions of pounds have been invested here over the last five years in new facilities, helping the Port attract new trades in oil products, paper, steels and containers. This investment is continuing with plans for a new cement blending plant, a new power station at Tilbury, and an import facility in Canvey Island.

“Against this backdrop of growth and innovation it is exceptionally disappointing to see London Gateway, potentially the most significant development in the Port for over a hundred years, still awaiting the final Government go-ahead. This is a project that combines many aspects of the sustainable development mix – bringing a brownfield site back into use, generating thousands of jobs and enabling goods to be landed and processed in the right place – close to the biggest market in the UK.

“The London Gateway project was first brought forward seven years ago. We call on the Government to conclude its deliberations and approve this development. It is an essential solution to the UK’s shortage of container port capacity. Failing to act on this promptly risks the UK losing its place on the global shipping stage and consumers paying more as a result.”

Contact: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority. Tel: 01474 562366.