DP World's London Gateway development will generate up to 36,000 jobs, the global ports operator said as Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, met with officials from the company. Mr Brown said the Dubai port operator's decision to proceed with the £1.5 billion (Dh8.94bn) project was a "massive vote of confidence in the UK's economic recovery".
DP World on Monday ended doubts about the future of the planned deep-sea container port when it announced it would press ahead with construction of infrastructure works after buying the remaining land for the project. "The London Gateway is a significant foreign investment into the UK," Mr Brown said. "It will help bring the largest deep-sea vessels here and improve the efficiency of the UK's freight distribution, creating thousands of jobs, future growth and economic prosperity."
Situated on the north bank of the River Thames in Essex, the 607-hectare site is the same size as two cities of London. It will improve deep-sea shipping access and is expected to transform the movement of freight around the UK. An independent survey commissioned by DP World said the development would create 36,000 jobs in total, including 12,000 in logistics and construction in the short term. DP World's decision to proceed with the project underlines its distance from the financial troubles of its parent company, Dubai World.
DP World is excluded from the US$22bn (Dh80.58bn) debt restructuring of state-controlled Dubai World and remains one of the conglomerate's most prized assets, operating 50 terminals in 32 countries. "When complete, London Gateway will provide the UK with modern, efficient infrastructure while reducing carbon dioxide emissions and supply chain costs," said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the chairman of DP World.
"By starting the major elements of construction, we ensure maximum flexibility to develop the project efficiently in line with market demand." The company estimates it will save more than 60 million heavy-goods-vehicle miles per year, the equivalent of around 2,000 lorry movements per day on the UK's roads and amounting to a reduction of 148,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide emissions. Containers from London Gateway could be transported via smaller ships to other ports around the UK.