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Thames cargo wharf comes back to life

The 'Wiebke D' at Alexander WharfA Thames cargo wharf in East London has been brought back into working use this week after being unused for over a decade.

The visit of the cargo ship ‘Wiebke D’ to Alexander Wharf in Barking is the first use of the port facility since 1996. The ship arrived at the wharf to collect about 1000 tonnes of stainless steel scrap metal for recycling. This high value metal cargo will now be sailed out of the Thames directly to a major stainless steel producer where the metal will be recycled.

The operators of Alexander Wharf, ELG Haniel Metals Ltd, hope to ship at least 1000 tonnes of stainless steel scrap every month from the facility. The company specialises in the recycling of stainless steels and special alloys.

Dredging was necessary in order to reactivate the wharf, to ensure there is sufficient depth in the area for ships to come and go from the berth safely.  The Port of London Authority (PLA) worked closely with the operators at every stage of the dredging project to ensure that the local river environment of the Thames was protected.

Jim Trimmer, head of planning & partnerships at the PLA said:

“We are very pleased to have worked in partnership with ELG Haniel to bring this wharf back into working use. This is part of our work to safeguard the future of working wharves on the Thames and to reactivate a number of currently unused port facilities on the River.

“Every ship and barge that uses the Thames helps keep lorries off the crowded and congested roads. We will continue to take steps to increase use of the river for cargoes of all types and we see particular potential for growth in ‘green’ cargoes including recycling.”

Paul Brown of ELG Haniel Metals said:

“The shipment from Alexander Wharf this week has gone very smoothly. Reopening this wharf makes sound business sense for ELG Haniel Metals – our Barking facility is strategically located near the key markets of London, Essex and the wider southeast England economy. And using ships to move these cargoes is not only good business – it is also environmentally sound.”

Contact: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority. Tel: 01474 562366. Email: press office@pla.co.uk