From a standing start in 2013, DP World London Gateway has achieved remarkable growth and become established as the most globally connected port in the UK.
Breaking through barriers.
Twenty-two services a week (and counting); 63 countries served; connections to 115 ports all over the world; 45 rail services a week; 2,000 trucks a day through the port gates.
DP World London Gateway has seen exponential growth in the past year, and every indication is that there is far, far more to come.
Opened for business for the first time in 2013, the container terminal is among the world’s fastest growing ports. In 2018, not only did volumes break through the 1 million teu barrier for the first time – they reached 1.3 million teu.
“We achieved a 35% increase in volumes in 2017 and a 36% increase in 2018 – and I expect at least a 25% increase in 2019,” says Chris Lewis, DP World’s UK chief executive officer. “London Gateway started from scratch in 2013; getting our third berth completed and opened in 2017 was really key, as is the 17 metres water depth that we offer. We are now the most globally connected port in the UK.”
In its first full year of operations, 2014, DP World London Gateway handled 271,000 teu. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the totals were 469,000 teu, 708,000 teu and 954,000 teu respectively.
While there is ample room for 2018’s 1.3 million teu, and for the expected increase in 2019, the obvious question being asked is when we can expect the next phase of expansion at the port.
“We can build berths 4, 5 and 6 in line with demand; we have enough head room at the moment, but will monitor the situation and the levels of new business,” says Chris Lewis.
Built on the site of the former Shell Haven oil refinery, DP World London Gateway will ultimately provide a
maximum six berths along 2,700 metres of quay. That would take annual capacity to 3.5 million teu. The present rail terminal, with a completely dualled link to the national rail network, can handle up to 30 trains a day; there are plans for a second rail terminal to serve future berths.
It’s hard to pinpoint DP World London Gateway’s USP (unique selling point) – because the answer would be more of a package. The port is perfectly located within easy reach of London and the South East; it has excellent road and rail connections; it was built on a brownfield site that allowed a pitch-perfect layout and choice of equipment, which ensure sustainable, reliable and efficient operations; and it is completely integrated with the DP World London Gateway Logistics Park, which offers fast-track planning processes and fantastic opportunities for integrated, portcentric supply chains.
The logistics park features nearly one million square metres of warehousing and distribution space for retailers and logistics firms, and 2018 saw a number of high-profile names investing and becoming established there.
New services, new links
In November 2018, Maersk Line announced that it would be moving its AE7 service from Felixstowe to DP World London Gateway. Part of the line’s Asia-Europe network, the service also caters for exports to the Middle East and Far East.
This important service followed DP World London Gateway securing several other new services in 2018. These included Aegean’s North West Europe-Eastern Med service, the EPIC1/IPAK service linking Europe, the Red Sea and the Indian Subcontinent, and the Levante Express to the Eastern Med.
In the shake up of container line alliances at the start of 2017, DP World London Gateway and its sister port DP World Southampton were confirmed as the UK ports of choice for THE Alliance. As a result, London Gateway regularly handles some of the world’s largest container ships, on East-West trades, as well as transatlantic services run by THE Alliance.
DP World’s two-port strategy, combining the virtues of London Gateway and Southampton, has been particularly valuable, says Chris Lewis. “For reasons of resilience and flexibility, retailers are keen to split their cargo and use more than one port. We can offer them the opportunity to split across two DP World ports – that gives them the comfort of dealing with one operator, but the flexibility they need for their operations. For example, Southampton was quite busy in the autumn of 2018 due to diversions from Felixstowe, and London Gateway was able to take the pressure off.”
In the know
Tracking, tracing, transparency: cargo owners, hauliers and agents want to know one thing – where’s my container? DP World has introduced a new program that answers just that question.
“A port community system gives the basic messages so that you can establish when your container is landed and Customs-cleared and when it has gone out of the gate,” says Chris Lewis.
“However, we talked to retailers and distribution centre operators and they told us they could only establish when the container had left the port and was on its way. We know the status of every
container, whether it requires any inspection and whether it is available for inspection – so we are able to provide
the information to fill that perceived black hole.”
Eight hundred people have already signed up for the system, including hauliers and shipping lines as well as cargo owners, he says. In February, the system will be released as a subscription service. “We see this as a bit of a USP in our offering – and combined with our VBS (vehicle booking service), it provides a really good service.”
Above all, cargo owners want reliability, he points out. There has been a huge amount of investment in future-proofing at DP World London Gateway, and the semi-automated set-up ensures that operations can continue in all but the most extreme weather conditions. With no personnel driving in the stacks, there is remarkable weather tolerance: the port has only closed for wind for a total of nine hours since 2015.
Automation capability is also built into the quay cranes, four of which are equipped for future remote control
operations – and that will be activated when productivity and costs balance out.
“In the meantime, our tandem and quad lift capacity gives unbelievable productivity. We have achieved 180 moves per hour on one ship.”
Developments at the DP World London Gateway Port and logistics park continues apace. A key advantage for
developers is that the logistics park has an LDO (Local Development Order) in place, which allows for fast-tracked planning permission. “The LDO means planning takes just 28 days – the new UPS packaging hub gained planning permission in just 17 days,” says Chris Lewis.
n SH Pratt opened its Halo Handling bespoke temperature-controlled warehouse in November. The construction of the 108,555 square foot facility was completed in less than 24 weeks and within eight months of a planning application being submitted. The facility will handle fresh produce including
lemons, limes, melons and soft fruit. DP World London Gateway port is
now handling the majority of southern hemisphere reefer containers coming into the UK.
n Construction of a new multi-temperature warehouse for CMA CGM started in October. The 107,155 square foot cold store facility is due to start operations in mid-2019. CMA CGM has taken a long-term lease on the build-to-suit development, which will feature best-in-class technology, IT traceability and management systems. As well as chilled and frozen chambers, the store will enable CMA CGM to provide product quality control, packing, sorting, labelling, palletisation and bagging, as well as Customs clearance, transfer from the quay to the warehouse, and final delivery.
n In September 2018, a truck park operated by fleet vehicle management company Hireco opened next to the port’s main gate. This is a five-acre yard offering short and long-term parking for up to 170 trucks and providing services such as a restaurant, showers and toilets, wifi, vending machines, and AdBlue facilities. The facility features CCTV and ANPR for security and efficiency.
n Solent Stevedores opened an empty container yard at the logistics park in May 2018.
n UPS opened its 32,000 square metre packaging, sorting and delivery facility in May. UPS invested £120 million in this European hub, which has four miles of conveyor belt and handles up to 28,000 packages an hour.
n In 2019, DP World will build a 231,000 square foot warehousing facility – this is a speculative build, to meet growing demand from 3PLs and others.
DP World London Gateway
facts and figures
vessels 23,000 teu +
three, with space for three more
17 metres alongside
Largest vessel to date…20,568 teu
12 ship-to-shore cranes…tandem and quad lift, 25-box outreach
Current capacity of port…
2.4 million teu
40 shuttle carriers with option to automate, 60 ASCs with
automated landside operations
35 minutes average, 85% in less than an hour
one of the longest in the UK,
at 775 metres and with six
Rail services… 45 a week
Clean and green
DP World London Gateway introduced its first fully electric shuttle carrier in 2018. At present, 12 of the fleet of 40 are hybrid-
electric, with the rest running on diesel. The fully electric carrier, being trialled as a pilot by Kalmar, charges in just six minutes.
From solar panels installed on terminal tractors, to scrapping
single-use plastic, to working with the PLA on in-river litter collectors, DP World has a strong commitment to sustainability. This also includes regular visits to schools to inspire the next generation to consider a career in the ports and maritime sector – and ensure they are fully aware of the skills they need – and working with the Prince’s Trust to reduce unemployment amongst young people not in education.
A Planet Mark report confirmed that DP World London Gateway Port reduced its carbon emissions by 10.5% per teu
between 2016 and 2017. On the logistics site, meanwhile, Halo Handling, the new temperature-controlled warehouse built for SH Pratt Group, was the latest development to receive the Planet Mark accreditation – in November, it was confirmed a 16% reduction in carbon emissions was achieved during the build.
A further ‘green’ accolade came with the news that the port’s sustainability manager, Emma Cowper, was named Sustainability Influencer of the Year at the inaugural Planet Mark Awards in October 2018.
Extract from the Port of London Handbook 2019 (published by Compass Publications Ltd)