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05.09.2003

Deputy Prime Minister visits Port of London

The Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Prescott MP, today visited the Port of London Authority (PLA) and was given a demonstration of the first ship bridge simulator operated by a port authority in the UK.

Mr Prescott viewed a simulated berthing of a large container ship with tug assistance on the state of the art simulator, recently installed at the PLA’s Gravesend offices for marine pilot training.

During his private visit the Deputy Prime Minister took the opportunity to discuss the importance of the Port of London within the Government’s overall vision for the Thames Gateway regeneration project with PLA Chairman Simon Sherrard, Chief Executive Steve Cuthbert and other key executives. The PLA emphasised the importance of the Port to economic growth in the region and the vital role the Thames plays in the transport infrastructure of London and the south-east.

Mr Prescott returned to Westminster along the Thames aboard the fast commuter vessel, ‘Sky Clipper’. On board the vessel in central London, Mr Prescott was shown the Thames Transponder System, a vessel tracking system under development for use on the Thames.

Commenting on the visit, PLA Chairman Simon Sherrard said:

“This was an opportunity for us to discuss the importance of the Port of London to the economy of the whole south-east with the Deputy Prime Minister. It also enabled us to demonstrate some of the new technology we are investing in to safeguard existing high standards of marine safety in the Port.”

For further information contact Martin Garside, PLA. (Tel: 020 7743 7915.). Photographs of the visit are available on request.

Note to Editors:

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is the port authority for 150 km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington.  It provides navigational and pilotage services for ships using the Port of London, including the maintenance of shipping channels. The Port of London comprises over 70 independently owned terminals and port facilities, which handle a very wide range of cargoes. London is the second largest port in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.