London Gateway shown within Essex
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|Cost estimate||£1.5 billion|
London Gateway is a major new development under construction on the north bank of the River Thames in Thurrock, Essex. It comprises a large new deep-water port, which is able to handle the biggest container ships in the world, as well as one of Europe’s largest logistics parks, providing access by road and railways to London and the rest of Great Britain. The complex will make use of technology to maximise productivity and reduce costs for shipping lines and the logistics industries.
The project is being undertaken by DP World, one of the largest marine terminal operators in the world. Construction began in February 2010, and is expected to take several years, with the port and logistics park being completed in stages. The first phase of the port opened for business on 6 November 2013 with the docking of the 58,000-tonne MOL Caledon, laden with fruit and wine from South Africa, however this ship has a capacity of only 3,000 or so containers when the port has been described as having a capacity to handle ships 5 to 6 times this size.
London Gateway is located on the former Shell Haven site in Thurrock, Essex. The 1,500-acre (6.1 km2) site is a former oil refinery, which closed in 1999. However, the site has been used as a port since the 16th century.
DP World received Government approval for the development of London Gateway in May 2006. The proposals were also identified by Gordon Brown as one of the four economic hubs needed for the regeneration of the Thames Gateway.
In May 2008, the Department for Transport issued a "Harbour Empowerment Order" for London Gateway, which provided official and statutory powers for the new port and established London Gateway as a legally recognised authority.
The future of the project was less certain after Moody's downgraded DP World's financial status to 'junk' in December 2009 in relation to the Financial crisis of 2007–2010 and associated financial problems for DP World's owners Dubai World. In January 2010, DP World announced its intention to seek a share listing on the London Stock Exchange in the second quarter of 2010 and was also given the go-ahead for construction of the port.
London Gateway port includes a 2.7km long container quay, with a capacity of 3.5 million TEU a year when fully developed. The port will be located on the major shipping lanes serving north west Europe and will increase national deep-sea port capacity for the UK, as identified as necessary by the government.
At present, the ports of Felixstowe and Southampton are the first- and second-largest ports by container traffic in the UK, with the Port of London third. Close to Gateway, on the south bank of the Thames estuary, on the south-east side of the Isle of Grain, is Thamesport, a small but well-established container terminal. Thamesport is privately owned by Hutchison Whampoa, which also owns Felixstowe and other ports. There is also the Tilbury container port on the north bank, up river of London Gateway, whch was previously partially owned by DP World.
The development will significantly increase the capabilities of the Port of London in handling modern container shipping. DP World has stated that high-quality architecture, sustainability, and high levels of security and management will be key features of the park and will create an attractive environment for occupiers.
DP World is planning to invest over £1.5bn to develop the project over a 10-15 year development period. It predicts that London Gateway will deliver about 12,000 new direct jobs, benefit the local and regional economy, and assist the government’s Thames Gateway regeneration initiative. In addition, DP World predict that there will be over 30,000 indirect and induced jobs.
The distribution park at London Gateway will cover a development area of 300 hectares (740 acres). It will accommodate buildings in excess of 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2). Outline planning permission has been granted for a total of 9,500,000 sq ft (880,000 m2).
Rail access is available via an upgraded double-track connection to the Tilbury Loop of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line. On site 25 kilometres (16 mi) of double track access will accommodate trains of up to 35 wagons long (750 metres (2,460 ft)), which will be loaded/unloaded next to the port container handling areas. Rail logistics partner DB Schenker Rail (UK) plan to run four intermodal trains per day (mainly overnight) via Barking and Gospel Oak to the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail have cleared all trains on this route to rail loading gauge W10, the same as the connecting rail access route to the Channel Tunnel, allowing 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m) high containers to be transported. The East Coast Main Line connection to serve Doncaster and Leeds carries a smaller W8 loading gauge clearance, requiring the use of specially designed low-liner wagons to accommodate the taller containers.
Construction began in February 2010, and is expected to take several years, with the port and logistics park completed in stages. The first stage of construction was a £400 million dredging and reclamation programme, led by a joint venture between contractors Laing O’Rourke and Dredging International.
The first three of eight new quay cranes arrived in March 2013. Manufactured in Shanghai by ZPMC, they weigh 1,848 tonnes (1,819 long tons), have a boom which at 138 metres (453 ft) high is taller than the London Eye, can reached across 25 containers, and can lift up to 80 tonnes (79 long tons).
The London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008 permits the harbour authority to apply to a justice of the peace to appoint constables to form a police force for the port (and for justices of the peace to dismiss them). If appointed, they will have all the powers and privileges of a constable within the port area, and if they pursue someone from the port area, then they will retain the same powers of arrest as they would have if they were still in the port area. The majority of the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 were applied by the Order.
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- "London Gateway 'super-port' welcomes first vessel". BBC News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- "Transcript of address by Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister, to the 2007 Thames Gateway Forum". Thames Gateway Forum. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/shippingports/ports/dl/decletlongatewayharbour?page=1 Press release by the Department for Transport
- Moya, Elena (2009-12-08). "Six Dubai companies downgraded to junk status". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2009-12-08.
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- http://www.portoflondon.co.uk/pdfs/Port_News_page_2.pdf Statistics from the Port of London
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- article 51, London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008
- article 52, London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008