DP World has signed a £400 million contract to build the first phase of London Gateway, the new container port and logistics park at the old Shell Haven site at Stanford-le-Hope.
Construction work will begin later this year at the 1,500 acre site. The logistics park, which will offer 9.5 million square feet, is due to open in the latter half of 2010, with the first ships arriving in early 2011.
This is the first major contract to be awarded in the £1.5 billion project, due to be built over the next ten to 15 years.
The contract is over five years, and will see the construction of the first phase of the port’s quay providing three berths and three quarters of a mile of quay in a joint venture between Laing O’Rourke and Dredging International.
The port will eventually handle 3.5milion TEU providing a much needed increase in capacity for the UK’s container terminals.
Chief Executive of London Gateway, Simon Moore, said: “This contract is a major milestone in constructing the port. London Gateway is vitally important for today’s UK economy. It will deliver the most efficient and technologically advanced port in the world and much needed deep sea capacity for the UK.”
The plan is to integrate the container port with a logistics park so that many everyday goods will be sent to the nation’s shops without having to be trunked to an inland distribution centre. Instead, goods can go straight into London Gateway’s own logistics park to be sorted and then sent direct to shops.
DP World reckons that by reducing the need for the goods to travel inland, the project will save 2,000 trucks from the UK’s highways every day, trucks which normally travel from a port and then return with an empty container to be put back onto a ship.
And it estimates that by cutting out this part of the logistics process, London Gateway will take 52 million truck miles off the UK’s highways every year, reducing congestion, saving time, fuel and curbing carbon emissions.
DP World is also promising that new technology will enable London Gateway to move fifty per cent more containers per hour on and off ships than is currently being achieved in the UK.
Containers will be transferred automatically from the quay into a fully automated storage area. This efficiency increase will allow the world’s shipping lines to save valuable time and money.
Dredging the Thames will be carried out to enable the world’s largest ships to access the port.