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Port of London in joint marketing initiative with Thailand

The joint-marketing initiatives pioneered by the Port of London Authority (PLA) with ports around the world has been further expanded, with the signing of an agreement between London and the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT).

This is the third such agreement entered into by the PLA, which already has similar arrangements with Spain’s Algeciras Bay Port Authority (APBA) and the Port of Hamburg in Germany. Discussions on a possible agreement with PAT started during 2000, when a ministerial delegation from Thailand visited the PLA. Negotiations on the final agreement have now been concluded.

There are many similarities between the two ports. The Port of London broke through the 50 million tonnes per annum mark again in 2001, while in Thailand, the Port of Bangkok and the container facility at Laem Chabang together handled a total of 35 million tonnes last year.

London and Thailand both have active riverside terminal operations and existing purpose-built container facilities, which directly serve the local markets of their respective capital cities. In addition, both ports have plans to develop separate additional major container facilities.

With the continued worldwide growth in trade, there is a natural potential for increased movements between the two countries. PAT sees this as an opportunity for Laem Chabang to become a major regional port for the SE Asian region, both for direct and transhipment services to Europe and the rest of the world.

The development of the second berth by Tilbury Container Services now makes the Port of London an important container port, which it is hoped will benefit from this new relationship.

Longer term, the planned development of "London Gateway" by P&O provides the Port of London with the opportunity to greatly expand its deep-sea container operations. It should become the UK’s largest container facility serving not only the markets of the capital and south-east of England, but also the other major regional markets of the UK and north-west Europe.

The agreement will establish a cross-flow of maritime business between both ports, while ensuring that the independence of their port facilities is preserved. Joint co-operation will primarily be in the pooling of market intelligence and, when appropriate, the sharing of new business leads where involvement by both ports would benefit the prospective client.

Other areas of co-operation will include all aspects of marketing, which will extend to speaking opportunities and attendance at major international conferences and exhibitions. Both organisations will co-present new business presentations to prospective clients.

Commenting, Simon Sherrard, PLA Chairman said: "S.E. Asia is an important trading partner for the UK and Europe, both in raw materials and manufactured goods. By entering into this new arrangement, both PLA and PAT believe that the prospects for both ports to gain an increased share of the volumes will be enhanced."

Dr Wichai Sungprapai, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the Port Authority of Thailand, said: "We are keen to build a relationship with the Port of London to expand trade between our two areas. Globalisation means there is more competition than ever before and this alliance strengthens the position of both ports.

"Through this Agreement we will be able to offer a one-stop shop for businesses wanting to ship goods direct from SE Asia into the UK’s important markets of London and south-east England. In addition, the excellent road, rail and sea transport links available from the capital open up other major markets throughout the UK and into mainland Europe."

Note to Editors:

The PLA is the port authority for the 93 miles of the tidal Thames. The Port of London is the UK’s third largest port with an annual throughput in excess of 50 million tonnes. The port comprises over 70 independently owned operational terminals and port facilities, which handle a range of commodities from oil products to forest products and containers.