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Thames Trade Up

PLA Annual Review 2007/8Seaborne trade in London continued at more than 50 million tonnes for the seventh year in a row in 2007 with the Port handling a record number of containers and other 'unit'-like cargoes.

Smashing the two-million TEU (twenty foot equivalent unit) barrier for the first time helped overall trade in London rise by more than 1.5 percent to 52.7 million tonnes.  Goods carried in the containers range from New Zealand lamb and fine wines to DVDs and washing machines.

The figures are released today in the Port of London Authority (PLA) 'Annual Review'.  It shows that the 800,000-tonne improvement in trade was principally due to increased tonnages of cement, aggregates, coal, unitised cargo and oil.  A limited number of trades saw volumes decline, notably forest products.

In addition to seaborne trade, the volume of cargo shipped between Thames wharves and jetties continued to run at more than two million tonnes.  This helped to keep more than 250,000 lorry movements off the capital's congested roads.

Business highlights for the year included the arrival at the main deep-sea container terminal on the river, Tilbury Container Services, of the largest container vessel ever to navigate the Thames, and elsewhere a barge trial by Sainsbury's to investigate moving supermarket goods by river.

PLA chairman Simon Sherrard said: "While the economic outlook in the immediate future is uncertain, the Port of London and the tidal Thames are in robust health.  We see the immediate future dominated by significant investment in facilities along the river which should see London's trade continue to grow."

'PLA Annual Review' is available free from: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority (tel: 01474 562366 or email) or may be downloaded from this website - click here.

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.
  • Photos of shipping in the Port of London area are available on request from Martin Garside (see above).