DP World London Gateway is a recently-developed port within the wider Port of London, United Kingdom. The site is a fully integrated logistics facility, comprising a semi-automated, deep-sea container terminal on the same site as the UK's largest land bank for development of warehousing, distribution facilities and ancillary logistics services.

The facility is located on the north bank of the River Thames in Thurrock, Essex, 30 miles (48 km) east of central London. The deep-water port opened in November 2013 and is able to handle the biggest container ships in the world. The port is now linked on a weekly-basis with 51 countries and more than 90 ports all over the world, including Asia, Australia, the USA, South America, Africa, India and southern Europe.

Undertaken by DP World, the new facility is significantly increasing the capabilities and efficiencies of the Port of London in handling container shipping,[1] to help meet the growing demand for container handling at Britain's ports.[citation needed] Construction began in February 2010,[2] with the port and logistics park being completed in stages. So far, development of three berths has been completed with potential for the development of three more. The first phase of the port opened for business on 6 November 2013 with the docking of the 58,000-tonne MOL Caledon, loaded with fruit and wine from South Africa.[3][4]

Development of the Logistics Park has followed the initial stages of development of the port. UPS is developing a 32,000 square metre package sorting facility on the site - one of the American firm's largest ever infrastructure investments outside of the USA.[5] Since March 2017, German grocery retailer Lidl has been operating out of the DP World London Gateway Logistics Centre, the first warehouse to be developed on the site.

The Port

Technology and equipment

DP World London Gateway Port is a semi-automated facility. It uses robotic, automated stacking cranes to assist with managing containers as they are moved from ship-to-shore cranes and onto and off of trucks and trains.

12 quay cranes (also known as ship-to-shore cranes), among the largest in the world and built by ZPMC, are installed along 1200m of developed quayside that has a water depth of 17m alongside. This enables the port to efficiently handle the world's largest container ships, which are now up to 400m long, 60m wide and able to carry up to 21,500 TEUs (or 20-foot equivalent units). In the last three years, DP World London Gateway has handled dozens of these ultra-large container ships.

The port's quay cranes - which are manual but can be driven remotely from the port's control room - have multi-lift capability, meaning they are able to lift up to four TEUs in one go (or two 40 foot containers). The cranes are able to lift cargo weighing up to 80 tonnes and sit on 49m deep quay walls.

DP World London Gateway Port currently comprises three deep-water berths, with the ability to expand to six.

The facility uses 60 automated stacking cranes, 30 dedicated to land-side operations and 30 dedicated to ship-side operations. These cranes were also built by ZPMC, with software provided by Kalmar and Cargotec. There are 180 bays available at any one time for hauliers collecting or dropping off containers.

The port also uses straddle carriers (also known as shuttle carriers), which move containers between the automated container stacking area and the quay cranes. Terminal tractors and trans lifter trailers - which move cassettes, onto which containers are loaded - are used on the port's land side to move containers between the automated stacking area and the port's rail terminal and inspection facilities.

An automated gate enables hauliers to access the site seamlessly, by booking a slot through the port's vehicle booking system. In 2016, DP World London Gateway delivered an average truck-turnaround time of 35 minutes and an average container turnaround time of 20 minutes. The vehicle booking system is provided by Community Network Services Ltd. This electronic data interchange system ensures a swift flow of import and export information between shipping lines, ports, freight forwarders, customs and other inspection agencies, hauliers and rail operators. CNS is a wholly owned subsidiary of DP World London Gateway's sister terminal, DP World Southampton.

Access by road

Road distribution is via the A13 to Junction 30 of the M25 motorway or via the A13 to the A130 and A12. As part of construction of the port, DP World London Gateway has invested significantly into improving road access to the facility. It increased capacity at the A13/Manorway junction, the main interchange for the port and the A13, by adding additional lanes. It also moved Sorrells roundabout south east by 50m so capacity and access at the roundabout could be increased. DP World London Gateway has also contributed funding to the widening of the A13,[6] a two-year project which started in 2017.[7]

Reliability & safety

The technology employed at DP World London Gateway makes the terminal safer than traditional ports. The automated stacking area means that personnel or hauliers do not have to closely interact with stacks of containers, as this is managed by robotic cranes. This means that adverse weather has only forced the port to close for five hours in three-and-a-half years[8] - no other UK deep-sea port has such a good weather resilience record.

Shipping services

Over the last three years, DP World London Gateway has built up its customer base significantly. It now offers UK exporters and importers the ability to ship through DP World London Gateway to and from 51 countries and more than 91 ports all over the world. THE Alliance - a container shipping consortium made up of Hapag Lloyd, NYK Line, K-Line, Mitsui-Osk Line and Yang Ming - offers services to and from Asia, including China, Vietnam and Thailand. A number of weekly services are available to and from both the east coast and west coast of South America, the Caribbean, USA, Australia, South Africa, Russia and the Mediterranean.[9]

The future

Full development of the port - berths four, five and six - will be completed in-line with market demand. With six deep-sea berths, 2700m of linear quay-side and 24 quay cranes, the port will have an annual capacity of 3.5million TEU. It is estimated that when the port is fully operational it will save 65million HGV-miles and take 2,000 trucks off the road per day, with economic and environmental advantages.[10]

Rail terminal

The rail terminal at DP World London Gateway is one of the longest in the UK. It is located inside the port's ISPS fence.

Rail access to the terminal is via connection to the Tilbury Loop of the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line.[11] On site 25 kilometres (16 mi) of double track access accommodates trains of up to 35 wagons long (750 metres (2,460 ft), which are loaded/unloaded next to the port container handling areas. Rail logistics partners DB Cargo UK (formerly DB Schenker Rail) and Freightliner are running intermodal trains on a daily basis via Barking and Gospel Oak to the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail have cleared all trains on this route to rail loading gauge W10, the same as the connecting rail access route to the Channel Tunnel, allowing 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m) high containers to be transported. The East Coast Main Line connection to serve Doncaster and Leeds carries a smaller W8 loading gauge clearance, requiring the use of specially designed low-liner wagons to accommodate the taller containers.[12]

The rail terminal, operated by GB Railfreight is served by three rail-mounted gantry cranes which move containers between ground-based cassettes and wagons.

The first rail freight service from the UK to China departed from the DP World London Gateway terminal on 10 April 2017.[13] The three-week-long journey (19 days) took the train and its cargo through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, ending in Yiwu in China’s eastern Zhejiang province.[13]

DP World London Gateway has planning consent to develop a second rail terminal on to the north-west of Berth Seven.

Logistics Park

DP World London Gateway Logistics Park is a 9.25million square foot bank of land ready for the development of warehouse and distribution facilities. It offers a number of flexible warehousing solutions, integrated with the port and the rail terminal.[14] This includes options to occupy speculatively built facilities on site or to work with an on-site team to develop bespoke buildings of any size, for manufacturing, distribution or storage.

Local Development Order

DP World London Gateway Logistics Park is covered by a Local Development Order which enables planning consent for certain types of new facilities on the Park to be obtained within 28 days. The Order was agreed by Thurrock Council on November 4, 2013 and signed off by the Secretary of State by November 7, 2013.[15] The LDO covers an area of 890,000m² and is designed to enable projects to be "fast-tracked" through the planning system. The LDO is thought to be the largest of its kind in the UK.[16] UPS obtained planning consent for its facility at the Logistics Park in just 17 days.[17]

Supply chain team

At the end of 2016, DP World London Gateway's Logistics Park Development Director, Oliver Treneman,[18] established a supply chain commercial team.[19] The supply chain commercial team is unique in the property development arena because its purpose is to work with organisations, such as retailers and manufacturers, to assist them in enhancing their distribution networks and supply chains.

Lidl at DP World London Gateway

The first facility to be completed on the site was the DP World London Gateway Logistics Centre, which was awarded Planet First[20] accreditation in December 2015.[21] The facility was opened by the transport minister of the time, Robert Goodwill MP, in 2015.[22] The centre was initially operated by Import Services Ltd,[23] but the agreement ended as DP World wished to work more closely to end-users of the warehouse. In December 2016, it was announced that Lidl would begin operating out of the Logistics Centre.[24] The retailer's occupation of the facility began in March 2017.

UPS at DP World London Gateway

In November 2015, UPS announced that it would be developing a 32,000-square-metre (340,000 sq ft), highly automated parcel and package sorting hub at the Logistics Park.[25] It will act as a UK hub and distribution centre as well as a key gateway to UPS’s global transport network. It will be able to process around 30,000 packages each hour.[5] The facility is due to be completed by the end of 2017.[needs update]

Joint venture development with Prologis

In February 2015, Prologis and DP World London Gateway announced a joint venture partnership to construct a 316,000-square-foot (29,400 m2), high-spec distribution facility at DP World London Gateway Logistics Park.[26]


DP World London Gateway is located on the 1,500-acre (6.1 km2) former Shell Haven site, which closed in 1999. Close to DP World London Gateway at the Medway Estuary, on the south-east side of the Isle of Grain, is the Hutchison Whampoa-owned Thamesport, a small but well-established container terminal. The Tilbury container port on the north bank, upriver of London Gateway, was previously partially owned by DP World, but was sold shortly before the development initially opened.

DP World received Government approval for the development of the Port and Logistics Park, identified by Prime Minister Gordon Brown as one of the four economic hubs needed for the regeneration of the Thames Gateway, in May 2006.[27]

In May 2008 the Department for Transport issued a "Harbour Empowerment Order" for DP World London Gateway, which provided official and statutory powers for the new port and established it as a legally recognised authority.[28]

The future of the project was less certain after Moody's downgraded DP World's financial status to 'junk' in December 2009, following the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and associated financial problems for DP World's owners Dubai World.[29] In January 2010 DP World announced its intention to seek a share listing on the London Stock Exchange in the second quarter of 2010,[30] and was given the go-ahead for construction of the port.[31]

However, the port's development has not come without challenges. Despite growing steadily since 2013, attracting services to call at the port which operate between North Europe and South America, Africa, Australia, India and more, the big breakthrough came in March 2017 when THE Alliance - a container shipping consortium made up of Hapag Lloyd, NYK Line, K-Line, Mitsui-Osk Line and Yang Ming - announced it would be using DP World London Gateway for its UK ports of call on Asia-Europe services.[32] With around 17% of all UK imports coming from Asia,[33] it was important that the port secured these high-volume services. Given the state of the container shipping industry at the time the port opened - with major shipping companies are increasingly grouped in alliances already committed to existing ports, and rationalising their services as they use ever bigger ships - it is reported to have processed 300,000 containers in 2014, its first full year of operation. This is reasonably successful for a new facility facing a lot of inertia from users.[10] The port and Logistics Park is now nearing critical mass.

Investment and economic benefits

Construction of London Gateway under way, 2010

The port is located on the major shipping lanes serving north west Europe, thereby increasing national deep-sea port capacity for the UK.[34] DP World is planning to invest over £1.5bn to develop the project over a 10-15 year period. It predicts that the facility will deliver about 12,000 new direct jobs, benefit the local and regional economy, and assist the government’s Thames Gateway regeneration initiative. In addition, DP World predict that there will be over 30,000 indirect and induced jobs.[citation needed]

The development will increase the capabilities of the Port of London in handling modern container shipping.[1] DP World has stated that high-quality architecture, sustainability, and high levels of security and management will be key features of the park and will create an attractive environment for occupiers.[35]


Construction began in February 2010,[2] and is expected to take several years, with the port and logistics park completed in stages. The first stage of construction was a £400 million dredging and reclamation programme, led by a joint venture between contractors Laing O’Rourke and Dredging International.[36]

The first three of eight new quay cranes arrived in March 2013.[37] Manufactured in Shanghai by ZPMC, they weigh 1,848 tonnes (1,819 long tons), have a boom which at 138 metres (453 ft) high is taller than the London Eye, can reach across 25 containers, and can lift up to 80 tonnes (79 long tons).[38]

By September 2015 two of the six berths were operational, and on April 1, 2017, the third berth opened.[10]


The London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008[39] permits the harbour authority to apply to a justice of the peace to appoint constables to form a police force for the port (and for justices of the peace to dismiss them).[40] If appointed, they will have all the powers and privileges of a constable within the port area, and if they pursue someone from the port area, then they will retain the same powers of arrest as they would have if they were still in the port area.[40] The majority of the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 were applied by the Order.[41]

Otherwise the local territorial police force is Essex Police. The former Port of London Authority Police now exists only as the Port of Tilbury Police.

The Marine Navigation Act 2013 contains for a provision for the Chief Constable of the territorial police area in which a port constabulary is situated to give permission for those constables to act outside of the port area in relation to port policing functions, whereby they retain the powers of a constable.[42] The legislation was enacted after it was established that the Port of Dover Police had no police powers to transport a prisoner to a police custody suite outside of a 1 mile (1.6 km) radius from the edge of port property.[43] Due to an apparent oversight, this section of the Act would not apply to London Gateway Port Police Officers. The Marine Navigation Act 2013 does apply to Port Constables attested under the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847, which also provides the constables police powers within 1 mile (1.6 km) of port property. As such, there would be little benefit in attesting constables under the 2008 legislation, rather than the 1848 Act, as the Marine a Navigation Act 2013 would not apply. The alternative would be to attest any such constable under both pieces of legislation.


  1. ^ a b "London Gateway Port". Port of London Authority. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "London Gateway port, Essex". Local Transport Today. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-11. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "New Business for London Gateway's Giant Cranes". Pacific Maritime Magazine. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "London Gateway 'super-port' welcomes first vessel". BBC News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "UPS To Build New Facility At DP World London Gateway". UPS Pressroom. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  6. ^ "Widening the A13 A13 roadworks Thurrock Council". www.thurrock.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  7. ^ "What's happening now A13 roadworks Thurrock Council". www.thurrock.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  8. ^ As of July 2017
  9. ^ "Shipping services map DP World London Gateway". www.londongateway.com. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  10. ^ a b c Wainwright, Oliver (15 September 2015). "Inside the London megaport you didn't know existed". Retrieved 29 December 2017 – via www.TheGuardian.com. 
  11. ^ "DB Schenker to serve London Gateway". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "UK's Largest Container Railfreight Depot Just One Year From Opening". Rail.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  13. ^ a b "London joins the Silk Road as UK – China rail freight service sets off". Railway Gazette. 
  14. ^ "Why Us London Gateway Logistics Park". www.londongatewaylogistics.com. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  15. ^ "London Gateway Logistics Park Local development order Thurrock Council". www.thurrock.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  16. ^ Ltd, Hemming Group (2013-11-05). "Thurrock Council approves UK's largest local development order". Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  17. ^ "UPS to build new facility at DP World London Gateway Logistics Park DP World London Gateway". www.londongateway.com. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  18. ^ "Oliver Treneman". Linkedin.com. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  19. ^ "Our People London Gateway Logistics Park". www.londongatewaylogistics.com. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  20. ^ "The Planet Mark™ Sustainability Certification". www.ThePlanetMark.com. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  21. ^ "London Gateway Logistics Centre awarded The Planet Mark". www.theplanetmark.com. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  22. ^ robert (2015-07-20). "London Gateway Logistics Centre opens". Multimodal. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  23. ^ "Retail Supply Chain Logistics - Import Services". ImportServices.co.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  24. ^ "Lidl takes 187,000 sq ft at DP World's London Gateway SHD Logistics News". SHD Logistics News. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  25. ^ "UPS to build £120m 'world-class' parcel hub at London Gateway logistics park - The Loadstar". The Loadstar. 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  26. ^ "Prologis breaks ground on London Gateway DC SHD Logistics News". SHD Logistics News. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  27. ^ "Transcript of address by Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, Prime Minister, to the 2007 Thames Gateway Forum" (PDF). Thames Gateway Forum. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-09. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  28. ^ "Press release by the Department for Transport". DFT.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 11 August 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  29. ^ Moya, Elena (2009-12-08). "Six Dubai companies downgraded to junk status". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  30. ^ "DP World to seek London listing". BBC News. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  31. ^ Lea, Robert (2010-01-06). "DP World on course to dock in the FTSE 100". The Times. London. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  32. ^ "Port Strategy London Gateway benefits from THE Alliance rotation". www.portstrategy.com. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  33. ^ "OEC - United Kingdom (GBR) Exports, Imports, and Trade Partners". atlas.media.mit.edu. Retrieved 2017-07-21. 
  34. ^ "Ports policy review interim report". Department for Transport. July 2007. Archived from the original on 2010-05-21. 
  35. ^ "News article from AME Info". AMEInfo.com. Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  36. ^ London Gateway port, Essex Local Transport Today
  37. ^ "Giant cranes arrive at new London Gateway port". Daily Telegraph. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  38. ^ "Record-breaking cranes lead the way to London Gateway". London Gateway. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  39. ^ "The London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008". www.Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  40. ^ a b "The London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008". www.Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  41. ^ "The London Gateway Port Harbour Empowerment Order 2008". www.Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  42. ^ "Marine Navigation Act 2013". www.Legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2017. 
  43. ^ Express, Dover (2012-09-13). "Port of Dover Police unable to make lawful arrests for almost a year". Dover Express. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 

External links