LONDON // DP World yesterday announced a last quarter of 2013 completion date of their US$1.6 billion (Dh5.8bn) investment in a new port near London.
The announcement signals its intention to press ahead with the London Gateway, a port and logistics centre on the Thames Estuary, despite concerns of a slowdown in global trade.
The project will provide 36,000 much-needed new jobs for Britain while creating a crucial new link in the company's growing global ports network.
"Crisis will come and go but London will still be there," said Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of DP World. "Going forward, London will be expanding and we will be helping by bringing the port back to London."
Hugging the north bank of the Thames Estuary in Thurrock, Essex, London Gateway will revitalise the capital's status as a trading centre by creating Europe's sixth-largest container port 40 kilometres from the centre of London.
Next door will be the continent's biggest logistics park, with space for more than 940,000 square metres of warehousing.
DP World has already invested $600 million in the project from its own finances and long-term bank lending and aims to plough another $1bn into the development in the next three years.
"It will provide the UK with a premier, world-class global trading centre," said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the chairman of DP World.
"Our investment in London Gateway re¿ects our long-term commitment to the UK and to our customers trading in this market."
DP World hopes to tap into demand for more ef¿cient shipment of goods directly into London rather than having to be transported by road from other major ports such as Felixstowe and Southampton. It will save UK business 105 million road freight kilometres every year, estimates DP World.
With the company already running operations in Asia and other emerging markets serving the UK, shipments will be able to pass directly between DP World's ports.
The port will open with a capacity of 1.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs), enabling ships capable of holding up to 18,000 tonnes of cargo to dock.
UK officials have heralded the importance of London Gateway at a time when government spending is constrained by the need to cut the budget deficit.
Hailed as the country's biggest jobs-creation project, the development will create 36,000 positions directly and indirectly. An extra 1,000 jobs will be created by 2013.
"The opening of London Gateway in just two years will transform the UK's maritime port infrastructure and play an important role in helping Britain's economy grow in the coming years," said Vince Cable, the business secretary for the UK.