fleetmon

A Busy River

Imagine if the shipping moving in and out of the River Thames went into decline – it would be a sign of a reduction in international trade , and a bad sign for the UK economy as a whole and for Essex, London and Kent in particular. Happily the reverse is happening – and The Port of London Authority are recruiting more marine pilots :

The Port of London Authority (PLA) is recruiting twelve new pilots this year to respond to increased traffic on the Thames….

….The PLA recruitment drive is also in response to an anticipation of growth in traffic resulting from significant investments taking place at the port’s terminals. The Thames welcomes a wide variety of ships from dredgers to warships and tankers to super yachts. And now the Thames is also able to welcome the world’s largest 400m long container ships, which requires specialised training….

Robin Mortimer, PLA chief executive said:

“The Port of London grew to 45 million tonnes in 2015 and is the UK’s busiest inland waterway. We are forecasting that over the next two decades the Port of London will become the largest its ever been and we are adding to the team to help bring a variety of ships, including the largest in the world, safely on to the Thames.”

Key investments on the Thames include those at DP World London Gateway and the Port of Tilbury. London Gateway is due to open their third berth in Q4 2016, adding capacity to handle an extra 600,000 containers per annum, while the Forth Ports recently announced plans for a £100m investment at the Port of Tilbury and are currently building a state-of-the art temperature-controlled distribution centre in the port and London Distribution Park adjacent to the port….

If you want to get a perspective on shipping – and what it’s like to be a mariner –  try these videos from Humans At Sea:

 

london gateway

“The tallest cranes in the world meet a container ship the size of four football pitches “… Business As Usual In Essex

The Guardian has a big article this week on DP World London Gateway: “the latest international trophy of the oil-rich emirate of Dubai, and one of the biggest privately funded infrastructure projects the UK has ever seen. It is a gargantuan undertaking (on the scale of Crossrail, Terminal 5 or HS2) that’s projected to have a bigger economic impact than the Olympics – but you might not even know it was happening.”

Once the capital’s lifeblood, London’s docks have long since faded to little more than a garnish of maritime nostalgia on riverside real estate. Where once burly dockers hauled crates of exotic cargo, now bankers engage in international trade of a less visible kind. The physical economy of heaving stuff to and fro has been replaced by the streamlined global flow of finance, conducted in anonymous glass towers.

Or so the story goes.

It might come as a surprise to learn, then, that London’s docks are back – on a bigger scale than ever before. Running almost 3km along the Thames estuary is a £1.5bn new megaport that has literally redrawn the coastline of Essex, and wants to make equally radical shifts to the UK’s consumer supply chain.

Full article here

One notable comment on the Guardian website is:

As much as we must be grateful for the belated recognition, I imagine the people who operate Tilbury and the DOZENS of other quays up and down the Thames will be a bit miffed to see themselves dismissed as ‘maritime nostalgia’. The sheer ignorance of Maritime UK from a national broadsheet is as pathetic as it’s upsetting.

yachts4

The Yachts Set Sail….

We wrote recently about the Cllipper Round The World Yacht Race that started this weekend:

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race begins in St Katherine’s Dock London on August 30th and then begins in earnest from Southend Pier on August 31st. As the Port of London Authority explains:

30th August 2015
12 yachts will lock out of St Katherine’s Dock from approximately 1400 until 1530. At 1530 4
of these will pass under Tower Bridge and gather on the Starboard side of the Upper Pool as

.
31st August 2015
The yachts will gather south of Southend Pier from 1200, a cannon will be sounded at 1220 to
indicate the ten minutes before the race start. The race will commence at 1230 and yachts
will start their passage outbound.

Jim Cripps has kindly sent us these photos (click to enlarge):

yachts1yachts2yachts3

 

 

 

clipper

If You Like Yachts, You Might Like To Take A Look.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race begins in St Katherine’s Dock London on August 30th and then begins in earnest from Southend Pier on August 31st. As the Port of London Authority explains:

30th August 2015
12 yachts will lock out of St Katherine’s Dock from approximately 1400 until 1530. At 1530 4
of these will pass under Tower Bridge and gather on the Starboard side of the Upper Pool as

.
31st August 2015
The yachts will gather south of Southend Pier from 1200, a cannon will be sounded at 1220 to
indicate the ten minutes before the race start. The race will commence at 1230 and yachts
will start their passage outbound.

There are also free yacht tours in the days leading up to the race…

The Largest Ship Ever On The Thames

big ship

From the Port of London website today:

London, UK, 26th February 2015:- The Munkebo Maersk became the largest ship to ever sail up the River Thames as it called at DP World London Gateway, the UK’s newest deep-sea port hub today.

The 399 metre long, 60 metre wide, 195,000 ton Triple-E class vessel – equivalent in length to almost four football pitches – and capable of carrying more than 18,300 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) is one of the largest container vessels in the world, operating on Maersk’s new East-West Network.

It was drawn alongside DP World London Gateway Port, adjacent to Europe’s largest logistics park, at 7.30am on Thursday 26th February, with the help of the Port of London Authority’s pilots…

Be Warned – Dartford Crossing Closed Overnight This Weekend, One Direction At A Time

From the Echo today:

THE DARTFORD Crossing will be closed overnight this weekend.

On Saturday night the northbound tunnels will be closed and on Sunday night the QEII bridge will be fully closed, with signed diversions in place via the Blackwall Tunnel.

Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said: “This weekend will see the start of massive changes at the Dartford Crossing and by Monday morning we will have southbound traffic able to use the Crossing barrier-free.

“We will be closing the Crossing overnight, in one direction at a time, to minimise the disruption while we change the road layout. I advise drivers to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.”

Erwan Huerre of Connect Plus which is carrying out the work, said: “Road users will see the benefit on southbound journeys early on, however work on the northbound carriageway, approaching the Dartford Tunnels, will take longer to complete.

“In the short term, road users will still need to drive through the old payment plaza, which will remain temporarily to manage traffic flows and maintain safety in the tunnels.

“The main works are due to be completed by spring 2015, which is when the full benefits of Dart Charge will be felt.”

The Crossing will be closed, between junction 2 (for the A2) and junction 31 (for the A1306), to northbound traffic between 11.30pm on Saturday 29 and 6am in the morning of Sunday 30 November.

It will then be closed to southbound traffic between 11.30pm on Sunday 30 November and 5.30am in the morning of Monday 1 December.

A diversion route will be in place via the A2, A102 Blackwall Tunnel and A13.

The Blackwall tunnel has a height restriction of 4m northbound, 4.7m southbound and is classed as ‘ADR Category E’ for hazardous goods.

Any vehicles above these height restrictions or carrying dangerous goods will be diverted via the western section of the M25

What’s Out At Sea?

ais

If you are  down by  the Thames , and are curious  about a cargo ship going past, you can find out about it by going to http://www.marinetraffic.com/ Type in “Thames Estuary” and you will get a map of the Thames with little markers showing the ships. You can click on the markers to get more info. Or you can search for the ship by name. It covers most of the world….

New Views Of The Thames

The Port of London Authority has linked up with Google:
– in fact they have linked up with Google Street View:

The Thames is the first river in the UK and Europe to be mapped by Google’s Street View technology, which provides 360-degree panoramic imagery to users across the world on Google Maps. While Street View cameras had voyaged to Moscow’s Red Square, the explorer, Scott’s, Hut on Ross Island and some of the world’s highest peaks, they were yet to make their way down England’s longest river until now.

The 360-degree photographic views of the river are live on Google Street View, which viewers will be able to find on www.maps.google.co.uk or on https://www.google.com/maps/views/home.

Incidentally, if you are ever looking for some really good photos of London or the Thames, try the PLA twitter feed– there are often some cracking photos appearing there.

And Spare A Thought For Those At Sea

forecast

thames Beaufort_scale_12

 

There are gale warnings around nearly all of the British coast – with” perhaps hurricane force 12″ in the Thames shipping area.

(bear in mind this is the area of sea near the Thames . not the river itself)

thames

 

 

Spare a thought for the seafarers on those tankers  that bring in diesel for our cars, the container ships that bring in clothing for our shops, the bulk carriers that bring in stone and rock salt for our roads, those ships that  take grain to other countries….

Lots of Seals !

From the Port of London Authority Website:

An astounding 708 seals have been spotted in the Thames Estuary in the first ever count by air, land and sea, carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Conservationists and volunteers jumped into boats to help tally the number of grey and harbour seals along the Thames, whilst others took to the air for a bird’s eye view of the coast, or stuck to solid ground to investigate small creeks and rivers.

Full article here, and an interactive map here.

A Chinese View Of the Thames

If you are still interested in the giant container cranes that have just arrived near Stanford-le-Hope in Essex , click on the link below for a news report from the People’s Daily Online.

It would be nice to think that this port will make Essex famous worldwide – but the Chinese report calls the location  “East London”.

VIDEO: GIANT CHINESE CRANES SAIL TO LONDON CCTV News – CNTV English.

The Giant Cranes Arrive

The giant cranes that we we mentioned in January arrived today in the Thames! You see a BBC news report here and their jobs list here.

If you are thinking of a career there, have a look at their website here.