A new logistics centre at DP World London Gateway offers firms the opportunity to cut costs and carbon emissions from their supply chains.
At yesterday's official opening transport minister Robert Goodwill said the development of the Essex port represented a “massive vote of confidence in the UK economy”.
“This port means we can bring goods right into the South East economy; that reduces CO2 and time,” he said.
Goodwill was joined by DP World chairman, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the first 16,800 sq m warehouse in the logistics centre.
A second warehouse is due to open later this year, and DP World, which is part-funded by the Dubai government, is planning to expand the centre to 36,000 sq m, depending on demand.
Graeme Clarke, development director at London Gateway, said: “We believe this is the way we will get more and more cargo owners to use London Gateway, to improve their supply chain and lower costs in their business.”
The port opened in 2013 following the dredging of a 100km stretch of the river Thames to allow the largest container ships to access it. Among the finds in the bed of the river was a Junkers 88 German spy plane from the Second World War and a ship, the HMS London, which sank following a gunpowder explosion in 1665.
Material recovered from the dredging was used to reclaim much of the land on which the port sits. The site was previously home to an oil refinery.
The port's quay cranes are among the tallest in the world and are able to handle ever bigger ships, while the process of loading containers onto trucks has been automated, meaning the port can boast average turnaround times for lorries of half an hour.
The port has room for six berths, of these two are currently in operation and a third is under construction and due for completion next year.
Andy Browning, cargo supply chain manager at London Gateway, said the port was able to exploit the lower costs of trucking goods from the UK to Europe, because lorries came to the UK from Europe full but returned empty. “We could hold the stock here and transport it into Europe, rather than hub it in Europe and bring it this way because it’s not an equal parity, therefore the cost to go back out is lower.”