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Port of London Trade Steady at 53 million tonnes

Container ships at TilburyThe Port of London Authority (PLA), which celebrates its centenary today (31 March),  has announced that trade through the Port of London remained steady at 53 million tonnes in 2008.

There was a small increase in overall trade of 0.4% (226,000 tonnes) on the previous year.  Increases in volumes of crude oil, oil products, sugar and chemicals were offset by declines in forest products, building materials, steel and other metals.

PLA chief executive, Richard Everitt, said:

"Last year's trade split into two halves, as it did for many other businesses. Trade was resilient up to the summer and then came under increasing pressure through the autumn and into the winter.  Our expectation is that, although trade will be quieter in 2009, volumes through the Port will continue at a reasonable level, given the diverse and essential cargoes handled, from food to fuel."

An increasing number of vessels started using the deepened Princes Channel during the year, with traffic through the channel up by five per cent over the year.  Dredged to a depth of eight metres following a £1.5 million project, Princes now provides all but the largest vessels with a shorter, straighter route to and from berths in the Port.

"Shipping lines have been really pleased with the improved access to the Port through Princes Channel.  During the year we will be looking at opportunities to further deepen the channel to open it up to even larger ships," added Richard Everitt.

"This continued development, combined with cargo handling facilities right on the doorstep of the UK's biggest consumer market, means that the long-term prospects for London look very good.”


Full details of the Port of London’s 2008 trade will be in the PLA’s Annual Review, which will be available on this  website from 16 April.

Container ships pass in Gravesend Reach