Bigger Ships Than Ever Call at the Port of London as Trade Increases
Cargo tonnage handled at terminals on the Thames River in England last year was 45.4 million tons, 0.9 million tons, or two percent, higher than in 2014.
Growth was principally in containers and trailers, which was up four percent to 16.9 million tons, and aggregates and cement, up 11 percent to 10.7 million tons as construction continued to recover.
Oil trades fell by eight percent to 10.9 million tons, with volumes particularly low at the beginning of year.
At the Port of Tilbury, P&O Ferries passed a milestone, handling its one millionth freight unit at the port and the port handled over 40 million bricks. At London Gateway Port, development of the third berth continued as increasing numbers of ultra large container ships called, benefitting from the port’s ability to continue operating even in high winds.
“Last year a number of operators introduced new, bigger ships and records were broken,” said Robin Mortimer, chief executive of the Port of London Authority. “The record breakers included the container ship UASC Barzan. The 400-meter Barzan set a new benchmark as the biggest-ever ship on the Thames when she called at London Gateway Port in September.”
Since August, the Port of Tilbury has welcomed over 20 calls from Grimaldi’s new-generation, larger capacity con-ro ships, operating on routes between Europe and West Africa. Longer and wider than their predecessors, they are handled at Tilbury’s new landing stage berth, rather than in the docks.
“It’s developments like these, combined with the planned £1 billion of investment by Thames terminals and operators over the next five years, that give us confidence in the future,” said Mortimer. “The Thames Vision project, looking at how the Thames will develop over the next two decades, has set a goal of port trade growing to over 60 million tons.”
The Port of London comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities at different locations on the Thames. The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational, safety, and related matters on 95 miles of the Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London.
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