U.K. government to approve P&O’s London Gateway terminal
The British government said today it plans to approve the construction near London of P&O Ports’ proposed major container and roll-on/roll-off terminal, after a lengthy public inquiry.
The news will provide relief among ocean carriers, forwarders and shippers in the United Kingdom that medium-term port infrastructure shortages will finally be tackled, after a proposal by Associated British Ports to build a new container terminal at Dibden Bay was rejected.
Transport Minister Derek Twigg said he expected to approve P&O’s proposal for London Gateway Port, to be located in Essex on the Thames River, and that the office of the deputy prime minister was also expected to approve the separate proposal by P&O and Shell for a logistics and business park. The approvals are subject to satisfaction on a number of outstanding issues, including the provision of additional highway capacity in the area.
“The government fully recognizes the nation’s and industry’s needs for additional container port capacity in order to meet future economic demand,” Twigg said.
The British port group welcomed the announcement, saying it is studying its details, including those relating to highways issues.
When fully developed, the port will have a capacity of 3.5 million TEUs a year. Its ro/ro freight facility will be able to handle two vessels simultaneously.
P&O said there is a national need for more container terminal capacity in the United Kingdom. “London Gateway Port will ensure that this requirement is met for at least the next 10 years,” the port operator said.
P&O expects the first container berths will be operational by the first half of 2008. The proposed London Gateway port will be capable of handling the largest deep-sea container ships.
Applications by the Hutchison group to build container terminal on the East Coast of England are still pending.