“London Gateway port – likely to go ahead, but not by 2011”




According to New Civil Engineer , one of Essex’s biggest construction projects is likely to be delayed:

Construction of a ?1.5bn container port outside London was on hold this week as its owner reviewed its expansion plans.
A joint venture (JV) between contractor Laing O’Rourke and Dredging International was due to begin work on the London Gateway port’s ?400M first phase by the end of 2008.

However, port operator DP World is currently reviewing the expansion plans for all its ports across the globe, leaving work on the London Gateway site at a standstill.

Work on the 748ha site in Essex is still expected to go ahead, but its anticipated opening in early 2011 is likely to be delayed, with the timescale over which the JV will build the port extended and further phases facing postponement and changes in scope. DP World revealed in its January interim results that it was conducting a comprehensive review of all its operations.

This is due to a large drop in global shipping demand at the end of last year, with the UK’s largest container port at Felixstowe seeing falls in volume of 16% in the final quarter of 2008.

Drewry Shipping Consultants ports director Neil Davidson said that while projects such as the London Gateway made sense in the long term, port operators risked overcapacity and price falls if they continued with construction plans in the short term. London Gateway is to be built by the Thames on the former Shell Haven oil refinery at Stanford-le- Hope near Thurrock, Essex.

It will eventually have the capacity to handle 3.5M twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs). The JV was awarded the contract in August last year to deliver the first phase of the port’s construction, providing three berths and over 1.2km of quay over the next five years.

“It’s a couple of years to get the first berth operational, and with the slowdown we may have couple of years before things improve,” said Davidson.

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