Freight News, Sea

London Gateway is a game-changer, says Cable

[ October 21, 2010   //   ]

The new London Gateway port and logistics development will “fundamentally change the economic geography of Britain,” predicted Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable when he visited the site on 5 October. The £1.5bn DP World development had the potential to completely realign the UK’s existing logistics patterns.

Work on the site is forging ahead, and over a quarter of the dredging and new port land has been competed. Chief executive of London Gateway Simon Moore said infrastructure work for Phase 1 would be completed in 2012, after which the port would be in a position to receive its first handling equipment. The port would open “in line with market demand” said Mr Moore, though he added that he hoped it would not be too long after completion of the engineering works.

DP World’s communications manager Xavier Woodward said that, at present, a lot of imported cargoes destined for the London area was moved from Felixstowe and Southampton for warehousing outside the region, often in the Midlands. London has historically been the UK’s largest port but, said Simon Moore, the nearest large box port was around 80 miles away.

The new development would create a major logistics facility in the south-east of England, he said, pointing out that while the capital accounted for 64% of the UK’s containerised cargo demand, it only had 10% of the warehousing capacity.

Simon Moore also pointed out that London and the South-East is, surprisingly, one of the UK’s biggest generators of exports – mostly in the form of scrap paper and metal being sent for reprocessing in Asia. “It’s a around 20% of the total, or 2m teu a year,” he said.

He added that London Gateway would have significantly faster container handling rates than most other comparable ports and, as well as seven container berths capable of handling the world’s largest box ships of 12,000teu or more, it would also include some of the UK’s largest logistics hubs, with a total of 9m sq ft of space.

It will also boast the UK’s longest ital window and Simon Moore said that wind conditions would be more favourable than in Felixstowe, which had been shut 30 times in a 12-month period. London Gateway would only have had to have closed twice, he claimed.

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