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Olympic boost for Thames barge traffic

A new contract signed by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) will result in increased use of the River Thames to move key construction materials.

The contract won by Aggregate Industries UK to supply aggregate materials for the construction of venues and infrastructure for the Olympic Park includes the supply of recycled (secondary) aggregates by barge. Aggregate Industries expect to move about half a million tonnes of recycled aggregates to the site by water, over the three year duration of the contract. The company plan to use four 120 tonne barges and five 350 tonne barges to provide a typical daily delivery by water of between 500-1000 tonnes.

The Port of London Authority (PLA) which is responsible for developing and promoting use of the Thames for shipping activity has welcomed the contract. The PLA's head of planning and partnerships Jim Trimmer said:

"This highlights the benefits of using the Thames to move bulk materials like aggregates. Transport by water is a highly sustainable transport method - helping to keep lorries off London's crowded roads."

ODA head of sustainability Dan Epstein said:

"The construction of the new permanent venues and infrastructure and the creation of the largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years will require large amounts of aggregate materials. This is an essential contract for the 2012 project and it is important it has sustainability at the heart of its plans.

"Aggregate Industries exceeded the ODA targets and are able to commit to providing over 70 per cent of the materials needed as recycled aggregates and to transport 99 per cent of materials by water or rail. This is unprecedented for a project of this size, scale and complexity."

Contact: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority, tel: 01474 562366 or email

Notes to Editors:

  • London is one of the top three ports in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.
  • The Port comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities at different locations on the Thames. These handle a wide range of cargoes.
  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London. The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames.
  • London also has a busy passenger boat trade for tourists and commuters and is a popular destination for international passenger cruise ships.
  • The tidal Thames is also used widely by those with small recreational craft of many types.