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London trade shows limited recovery

Containers in the Port of LondonFirst half 2010: Port of London trade

The Port of London Authority (PLA) says that trade through the Port of London rose by 1.3% or 293,000 to 23.3 million tonnes in the first half of 2010.

The Port of London - the second biggest in the UK - handles a wide variety of goods from food to fuel, cars to paper essential to the lives of people across London and the South East. The Port generates £3.7 billion of value added for the economy every year and supports over 45,000 jobs.

The limited recovery in trade from 1 January to 30 June 2010 follows the 14% fall in trade through the Port to 45 million tonnes last year, 2009, its lowest level since 1992.  The changes in the main tonnages of cargoes passing through the Port between January and June 2010, included:

Cargo throughput Change Total
Crude oil Up 3.0% 3.0 million tonnes
Oil products and gases Up 5.5% 6.5 million tonnes
Unitised cargoes (containers and lorry trailers) Up 13.2% 7.0 million tonnes
Forest products Up 17.2% 0.6 million tonnes
Aggregates (sand and gravel for building) Down 14.8% 3.1 million tonnes
Coal Down 67.8% 0.2 million tonnes


Commenting on the results PLA chief executive, Richard Everitt, said:

"This result is consistent with the modest recovery in economic activity that we have seen since the middle of last year.  Interesting trends to draw out include the continued fall in throughput of building materials, consistent with the low level of construction activity.  In marked contrast, container and other unitised cargoes showed very strong growth, underlining the attraction of London as a centre for trade.  The number of new vehicles passing through the terminals on the Thames continues to recover.

"The uncertainties coming from the cuts to public sector spending make it difficult to predict the likely full year trade figures.  Nevertheless, the Port continues to attract investment, with dredging for DPWorld's £1.5 billion London Gateway container port scheme on the north bank of the river at Shellhaven now well underway."

The Port of London Authority is the statutory authority responsible for overseeing safe navigation of vessels using the tidal river Thames and its estuary.  The PLA’s unique marine assets include the London Port Control Centre, industry leading hydrographic (river bed mapping) capability, 80+ trained ships pilots, 24 hour a day river patrols, divers and salvage craft.  The PLA is self-financing, with port dues as its principal source of income.