New £1.5bn London Gateway port a 'game changer'

Artist's impression of the London Gateway project when complete
Image caption DP World says the project could add 32,000 jobs to the UK economy

A new £1.5bn container port in Essex will be a "game changer" by providing quicker access to south east England, the company behind the project says.

DP World, which is building London Gateway in Thurrock, says an adjacent warehouse will allow prompt dispatch to destinations, including London.

Port of Felixstowe containers are taken to warehouses in the Midlands before they are dispatched around the UK.

The port, currently the largest in the UK, was unavailable for comment.

The first phase of London Gateway, which is being built 20 miles (30km) down the River Thames from London, is due to open later this year.

By the time it is finished, Dubai-based DP World says the port will be able to handle 3.5 million containers a year.

'Good competition'

It will also have what DP World says will be Europe's biggest logistics park to handle the imported cargo.

Commercial director Charles Meaby said having these warehouses will be a key incentive.

"For the south east region that is going to be a complete game changer," he said.

The Port of Felixstowe is closer to key European ports including Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg, so ships coming from those directions will have to travel further to get to London Gateway.

Simon Fraser, chairman of Felixstowe Port Users Association, an independent body for companies associated with the Port of Felixstowe, said people at the port were not too concerned about London Gateway.

"Competition is a good thing," he said. "I don't see the success of Felixstowe, which already has everything in place, diminishing overnight.

"It's got the rail, the roads, feeder services - all of which Thurrock will have to develop over time."

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