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Thames Investment Drives Jobs and Growth

Cory Environmental's four new tugs pass under Tower Bridge
Cory Environmental's four new tugs pass under Tower Bridge
(click on image to enlarge)

The Port of London Authority (PLA) says that the tidal River Thames is attracting investment of almost £2.5 billion in new passenger piers, cargo handling terminals and vessels.

The PLA revealed the figure at a parliamentary reception hosted by Gravesham MP, Adam Holloway.  The 95 miles of tidal river, running from Teddington Lock to the North Sea, is home to the UK’s second biggest port, busiest inland waterway and growing tourist and commuter passenger routes.  These activities along the river sustain over 46,000 jobs and contribute over £3 billion to the economy every year. 

PLA says the number of new development schemes coming forward is unprecedented in recent years.  Their research shows that the value of Thames investment projects just completed, underway and planned, totals almost £2.5 billion. 

Speaking at the event Shipping Minister, Mike Penning MP, said:

“I’m proud of the role the ports sector plays nationally and here on the Thames.  Investment and growth are central to our return to economic prosperity.  We’ve got to make the most of the opportunities that we have and I’m happy to say that I see that being done on the Thames.”

The single biggest investment on the river is DP World’s £1.5 billion London Gateway container port scheme in Essex which is expected to create over 12,000 jobs.  Other investments highlighted at the event were in:

  • ships – Cory Environmental’s new fleet of tugs and a new £3.75 million City Cruises passenger vessel
  • port facilities – including the Port of Tilbury’s Northern Expansion project, CdMR’s jetty development at Purfleet and Ford’s jetty development at Dagenham
  • piers – the extension of Tower Pier and recently opened St George’s Pier
  • on land – Greenwich Promenade being redeveloped ahead of next year’s Olympics.

“The river is sustaining a massive level of investment,” said PLA chairman, Dame Helen Alexander.  “This is long term investment, creating good quality, skilled jobs.  The introduction of new passenger boats continues to sustain the growth in commuter and tourist travel on the river, underpinning the recruitment and training of skippers, deckhands and support staff.”

“The commitment of Crossrail and Thames Water to use the river for their projects is going to trigger a major initiative to train the crews for the barges that will move the goods and materials.  Just as important, it will help keep hundreds of thousands of lorries off our congested roads.  In short, it’s great news for the economy, for jobs and the environment.” 

Shipping Minister Mike Penning speaking at the parliamentary reception
Shipping Minister Mike Penning speaking at the parliamentary reception
Click on image to enlarge)

The river is set to be a centre of attention during 2012 when it hosts the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on 3 June, the centrepiece Diamond Jubilee celebration, and the final leg of the Olympics Torch Relay some eight weeks later.

The PLA works to ensure navigational safety along the tidal Thames, promote use of the river and safeguard its unique marine environment.  The organisation shares its marine, environmental, planning and other expertise, working in partnership with people looking to use the river whether for trade, travel, recreation or pleasure.