The brand-new London Gateway, on the north bank of the Thames near Thurrock in Essex, benefited from the winter storms because in its more sheltered location it took business away from its more exposed rival, Felixstowe. But Dubai-based DP World, which runs London Gateway, does not yet recognise any unions – though Unite has won the right to approach the workforce.
When fully operational London Gateway will be able to handle an annual total of 3.5 million containers, more than Felixstowe’s current 3.25 million.
Why another port? Global competition is the answer. Felixstowe and Thamesport are owned by Hutchison Port Holdings, the world’s second-largest container operator and part of a Hong Kong-based group.
DP World, the world’s fourth-largest container operator, owns London Gateway and half of Southampton. Britain’s Associated British ports (APB) owns the other half of Southampton and 20 other ports including Grimsby and Immingham. ■