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Positive signs at Port of London Authority

An increase of 3.3% in non-fuel related trade through the Port of London in 2002 helped the Port of London Authority (PLA) achieve a £2.6 million surplus on ordinary activities before taxation last year (£1.1m – 2001), on a turnover of £31.8m (£31.5m – 2001). In addition, capital employed in the PLA business rose £3.5 million to £44.6million (£41.1m – 2001).

Although there was a 2.5% decrease in fuel related tonneage, overall throughput for the year increased by 1%, moving the Port of London from third to second place in the UK’s league of major ports. Total cargo handled was 51.2 million tonnes (50.7m tonnes – 2001).

The financial figures are in line with the PLA’s long term objective to make a surplus at the operating level, having reduced the operating deficit to £89,000 for the year, down from £1.747 million in 2001.

Commenting on the overall surplus including landfill royalties in the Annual Report & Accounts, PLA Chairman Simon Sherrard said: "This will contribute to the funding of further capital investment and enable the PLA to fulfil its obligations for safety of navigation, conservancy and maintaining a working river, consistent with the lowest possible costs for port and river users."

His report highlighted the significant investment made with the rebuilding of Denton Jetty in Gravesend. The new jetty, specifically designed for the PLA’s Marine Services operational needs, includes a boatlift, which is available to small craft operators on a commercial basis.

"Whilst there were no major new facilities developed by terminal operators during 2002, substantial investment continued to be made by the port community to bring incremental improvements to existing superstructure, demonstrating confidence in the future and the extent to which the terminals share the PLA’s determination to provide customers with a level of service they require," stated Mr Sherrard.

Referring to unused riverside facilities in the centre of London, Mr Sherrard said that the PLA was working with the Mayor, the Greater London Authority (GLA), the London Development Agency and Transport for London. This is in line with the GLA’s and PLA’s wish to strengthen the policy for the safeguarding of wharves in planning terms, "to retain them for port use and so encourage commercial activity on the river".

Looking to the future and the proposed development of the P&O "London Gateway" port facility at Shell Haven, Mr Sherrard said detailed work undertaken so far had confirmed the PLA’s view that the facility will bring significant benefits to both the Port and the region in general.

"The PLA Board considers it is in the national interest that the 3km of deep-water frontage should remain in port use. P&O’s scheme for the port is well conceived and the PLA Board fully supports the application, subject to the resolution of the outstanding technical issues."

Copies of the PLA’s ‘Annual Review’ and ‘Annual Report & Accounts’ are available from Martin Garside, Port of London Authority, Bakers Hall, 7 Harp Lane, EC3R 6LB (Tel: 020 7743 7915; Fax: 020 7743 7998) Email: pressoffice@pla.co.uk

Note to Editors:

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is the Statutory Harbour Authority for the 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the Estuary to Teddington. The PLA provides pilotage and navigational services for ships using the Port of London, including the maintenance of shipping channels. The PLA is also actively engaged in the promotion of the Port of London, one of the UK’s top three ports, handling over 51 million tonnes of cargo in 2002. The Port comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities, handling a wide range of cargoes.