The Thames Estuary may be the favoured site for Boris Johnson’s wild airport idea but a more realistic development scheme for the area was confirmed today.
DP World, a shipping company controlled by the ruler of Dubai, is to have London Gateway, a port and logistics park, ready for opening at the end of 2013. Work on the foundations for the port, which is 25 miles east of the capital, has been going on since January 2010. A further $1 billion investment will make the UK's largest deep-sea port ready for use.
The resulting benefits are an estimated £3.2bn extra juice for the economy, 2,000 port jobs, 10,000 positions at the adjoining logistics park and double that in the local community. With boxes ticked for infrastructure, jobs, growth and private investment, the coalition government is obviously delighted with the news.
Business Secretary Vince Cable, who attended today’s launch at the project site, said the port project “will help Britain to maintain its competitiveness, drive productivity, and crucially strengthen our links with Asia and beyond.” David Cameron might even mention the project in his speech at the Tory Party conference tomorrow.
The port’s green credentials are being gently flagged up by all concerned. The somewhat incongruous description of London Gateway as “Britain’s most environmentally friendly major new port” is justified by the reduced road haulage time that will be needed by importers and exporters.