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London Port Trade Recovers

Latest figures from the Port of London Authority (PLA) show that trade through the Port of London bounced back in 2010, with 48 million tonnes handled, an increase of 6% on 2009.

Leading the recovery in trade was crude oil and refined products, which rose by 7.2 % to 19.2 million tonnes and containers and trailers which increased by 13.3% to 14.3 million tonnes.

The PLA says the figures also show a modest change in the balance between imports and exports through the Port.  Exports, traditionally a small part of the port’s trade rose from 6.9 million tonnes in 2009 to 8.2 million tonnes in 2010.  Imports were up from 38.6 million tonnes to 39.8 million tonnes. 

“These figures reflect the economic recovery through last year,” commented PLA chief executive, Richard Everitt.  “The growth in trade through the Port only returned in April.  Although we’ve seen a reasonable recovery, throughput still remains below the more than 50 million tonnes that the Port consistently enjoyed from 2001 to 2008.  We are watching the figures for the start of this year particularly closely given the reductions in Government spending and increases in taxation.

“In the longer term prospects for the Port look very positive with dredging for the new London Gateway Port now well underway and a series of investments in other terminals planned.  The movement of goods and materials by barges within London has also proved resilient.  The Thames now carries over 70% of all goods moved on inland waterways in the UK.  That’s helping keep over 100,000 lorries off the capital’s road every year.  It’s our job to share our marine expertise to help people make the most of the river, whether for trade, commuting, leisure or sport.”

Port of London Trade: 2010 and 2009

Cargo (million tonnes)



Oil, crude and products 19.2 17.9
Containers and trailers 14.3 12.7
Aggregates 6.4 6.7
Other cargo, including sugar 5.2 5.0
Forest products 1.2 1.0
Coal 0.7 1.2
Metals and ores 1.1 0.9
 Total  48.1  45.5