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.


PLA digs deep for London

Dredging Project to improve access to Port of London

Chart showing new route via Princes Channel
The new route
Access to the Port of London is set to be improved with a major dredging project that will see nearly one and a half million tonnes of sand cleared from a shipping lane.

London is the largest port in the South of the UK, handling more than 50 million tonnes of cargo every year and employing over 30,000 people.  Now, in its biggest dredging project for 40 years, the Port of London Authority (PLA) is spending £1.5 million to deepen the Princes Channel in the Thames Estuary.

The work will create a more direct southern route through the Estuary to the terminals along the banks of the Thames.  The channel, which is expected to be used by around 2,000 additional ships each year, will be ready for navigation early in the New Year.

PLA chief executive Richard Everitt (left) and Chris Lehouk UK and Ireland Area Manager of Dredging International UK
PLA chief executive Richard Everitt (left) with Chris Lehouck of Dredging International (UK)
Port of London Authority chief executive Richard Everitt said:

"This improved channel will make it possible for the majority of ships that come into London to reach their destinations more quickly.  By making this investment we will give vessels access to a shorter, straighter and simpler channel, which will help to underpin London’s long-term competitive position."

Dredging International's brand new dredger
Dredging International's new vessel "Brabo"
The new development is also expected to be good for the environment.  It has been estimated that over the course of a year vessels switching to the newly dredged route could collectively save more than a month at sea, £185,000-worth of fuel, and 2,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Work will begin before Christmas and is expected to take contractors Dredging International (UK) Ltd six to eight weeks.

Chris Lehouck of Dredging International (UK) Ltd, said: "This is a fantastic project in the Thames Estuary, combining technical and production challenges, and elements of sustainability. It is an ideal first job for our brand new high performance trailer suction hopper dredger Brabo to cut her teeth on."

- ends -

Notes to Editors

  • The dredging programme will create a deeper, sustainable southern route into the Port that is simpler, shorter and straighter than Fisherman's Gat, the channel that is currently used.
  • The six-mile Princes Channel will be dredged to a depth of eight metres.
  • first phase of the project was completed during 2006, which increased the depth of the channel to six metres.
  • The PLA appointed Dredging International to undertake the latest work after a thorough assessment which included consideration of working methods, environmental considerations and the time when the work could be completed.
  • Dredging International was the only company that satisfied all the requirements and could commence the work during 2007.
  • They will deploy their new trailer suction hopper dredger, Brabo on the job.
  • Brabo’s large storage capacity will enable it to work on the Channel for longer with few diversions to disperse the dredged material at a designated site elsewhere within the estuary.

Martin Garside, Corporate Affairs Manager, 01474 562366 (or email)