#LondonTrade - Port of London trade in 2016 reached the highest this decade, rising 10% to top 50 million tonnes for the first time since 2008.
The strong performance reflects continued growth at terminals along the Thames where a pair of newbuild Arklow Shipping cargoships docked as previously reported on Afloat. The volumes of oil, containers and building materials all rose markedly. Prior to 2016, port throughput had been increasing at between two to three percent, year-on-year.
Port of London Authority chief executive, Robin Mortimer said: "Our long term Vision is for 60 to 80 million tonnes of cargo to be traded every year through the Port of London - more than at any time in the Thames' history. Passing 50 million tonnes in 2016 is a major milestone towards this goal.”
The tonnage of cargo handled at terminals on the Thames last year was 50.4 million tonnes, five million tonnes (or 11%) up on 2015. Growth was principally in oil trades which rose by 22% from 10.9 million tonnes in 2015 to 13.3 million tonnes in 2016. Containers and trailers (unitised traffic) was up 7% to 18 million tonnes; aggregates and cement increased again from 10.7 million tonnes (16%) up to 12.4 million tonnes. Cereal volumes also increased by 15% to one million tonnes.
2016 saw the first cargoes delivered to the Thames Oil Port, the former Coryton oil refinery site now redeveloped as a fuel terminal. At the Port of Tilbury (see Afloat's story on Cruise & Maritime Voyages flagship), a new chilled store for NFT was opened and the acquisition of land for port expansion was completed.
DP World London Gateway handled increasing numbers of ultra large container ships - operating between Asia and Europe - benefiting from its operational resilience in bad weather, as well as securing additional central and south American and Oceania services; testing of facilities on Berth Three at the deep-sea port also started at the end of 2016.