Latest expansion at London Gateway completed

London Gateway port

Pentalver Transport Limited, a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming, has completed the latest part of expanding its container terminal at DPWorld London Gateway, the UK’s largest automated and fastest-growing deep-sea container port.

Despite ongoing challenges from the pandemic, and the recent derailment in the port complex, the extensive Phase 3 expansion work was completed to schedule and saw the operation grow from nine to 14 acres. The overall site capacity increased from 4,000 TEU to 7,400 TEU, providing additional storage for customers – particularly welcome given the current global supply chain issues.

Capitalising on Freeport status

Rail freight has played a part in the development of the port from the very beginning. Much of the building material was delivered by rail – a partnership that aggregates supplier Hanson still recognises as among their most successful rail-led operations.

The vast Freeport Thames complex, encompassing London Gateway and Tilbury (UK Government)

London Gateway was recently awarded Freeport status by the UK government. The award, which saw the port team up with the nearby Forth Ports Tilbury operation, was part of a trade programme designed to offset the effects of the Brexit break with the EU. The rail freight connectivity at both locations played a positive role in the hotly-contested award.

Inter-modal connectivity, particularly rail

“With changing customer demand and Covid-impacted inventory, the UK logistics industry has seen huge pressure on container terminal infrastructure throughout 2021,” said Chris Lawrenson, Genesee and Wyoming Managing Director of UK Terminal Services. “Our new 24-hour, expanded facility allows us to add over forty per cent capacity to one of the UK’s critical mainline port operations and enhance our crucial support to the UK logistics industry.”

Rail freight will play a huge part in discharging maritime intermodal traffic at the fast-expanding London Gateway, part of the Thames Freeport complex (DP World)

“I am delighted that Pentalver has completed their Phase 3 expansion”, said Ernst Schulze, UK Chief Executive of DP World. “At London Gateway, we have the space, infrastructure and vision to support customers as they grow. Our partnership approach, logistics expertise, digital solutions and intermodal connectivity, particularly rail, help us to solve logistical challenges and give our customers more control over their supply chains.”

Pentalver says that the terminal now operates around the clock with increased maintenance, repair, and reefer operations. The recent derailment caused damage to about half a kilometre of track work in the port complex, which was repaired within two weeks during early January.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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