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Thames has huge untapped potential for carrying light freight, study shows

The potential for the River Thames to carry light freight could deliver jobs, ease congestion and improve air quality, according to a report jointly commissioned by the Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Port of London Authority (PLA).

Published last week (8 February 2022), Light Freight on the River Thames aims to provide the framework for a viable light freight solution on the River Thames, demonstrate the benefits for both business and the wider public, and set out next steps.

The Thames Estuary Growth Board will share the report with business to develop the case for investment and all levels of government to develop policy support.

Light river freight is already showing signs of resurgence, with the drive of organisations such as the PLA and the use of the river for parcel trade and hospital supplies. Moving freight onto the river is a key part of the Thames Estuary Growth Board’s Green Blue Workplan, which describes practical steps to realise the huge potential of the Thames Estuary. By driving a modal shift from road to river, the Board aims to draw in new investment opportunities, supporting its position as a strategic investment partner to government, and driving levelling up activity across the Estuary.

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, said: “Good, green growth is so central to everything the Thames Estuary Growth Board does – that means sustainable growth that works with the environment and resources we have around us. The Thames is a fantastic example of this. We have an enormous opportunity to make the most of the river and use it to deliver new jobs, reduce road congestion and clean up polluted air.”

Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy – South, Logistics UK, said: “The Thames is a huge, underutilised highway going right into the heart of the capital. For an efficient supply chain it’s important that we have a reliable transport network. The Thames is very well used for aggregates and waste but, as this study shows, it also contains lots of untapped potential to carry lighter freight, help us with the congestion challenge and help keep the capital on track to achieve net zero.”


Published On: 17/02/2022 16:00:04


In brief


Earlier this week (14 February 2022), Logistics UK announced it will be offering members of the Vehicle Body Repair Association (VBRA) affiliate membership, which will give these businesses access to a variety of Logistics UK’s services. These include its expert operational transport compliance information, in addition to discounted rates on training courses, vehicle inspection services, tachograph analysis and fuel card products.

*For more information, please contact Will Reeves

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