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Port of London: Vital pandemic supply line

On her maiden voyage, the HMM Algeciras called on the Port of London in June 2020. She was the first of a class of 12 container ships that have a capacity of 23,964 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). They were the largest container ships in the world when they were launched.

The Port of London was the biggest port in the UK last year, handling 47.4 million tonnes of cargo, ensuring that essential supplies were delivered uninterrupted to supermarkets, factories, forecourts and hospitals.

Terminals on the Thames handle a diverse range of cargoes including food, fuel, building materials and UK goods for export.

PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer, explained:

“In a year in which UK ports all played a vital role in keeping the country fed, fuelled and supplied throughout the pandemic, we are proud that the Port of London handled the most cargo of any UK port.

“Last year saw a massive collective effort across the port, including from terminal operators, shipping lines, essential support services such as towage providers, and of course our own team. Working together we kept essential supply chains running, so medicines, food and fuel arrived without delay.”

Developments during the year included the completion of phase one of the Tilbury2 facility, providing expanded unaccompanied freight capacity ready for Brexit, continued growth in calls at London Gateway and CLdN expanding services to the continent as demand increased later in the year.

Overall trade in the Port of London fell to 47.4 million tonnes in 2020, down 12% from 54.0 million tonnes in 2019.