London Gateway ‘biggest threat’ to Felixstowe

Felixstowe will try to limit the impact of the London Gateway development Felixstowe will try to limit the impact of the London Gateway development

DP World’s London Gateway, due to open in the fourth quarter of 2013, represents the biggest threat to the Port of Felixstowe’s business for many years, Hutchison Ports (UK) port development director Andrew Harston has warned.

Speaking at Felixstowe’s new year community reception, Mr Harston said: “We are going to have to look very closely at everything we do to ensure that we are providing port users with the best possible service. If we do this, we can limit the impact they[London Gateway] will have on the port and the local economy – but we shouldn’t fool ourselves that it will be easy.

“We can do it, though. We are better located, close to the main shipping lanes than they are, we have better rail connections than they will be able to offer, and we don’t need to navigate the M25 to get everywhere from here.”

However, he said, what DP World would have "in spades" and where Felixstowe is "comparatively weak", is in the provision of warehousing and logistics facilities in the vicinity of the port.

“We shouldn’t sell ourselves short – we have a lot to offer port users, but this is an area we need to look at.”

Felixstowe remains the UK’s largest container port "by a good margin", and its new deepwater Berths 8&9, officially opened in September 2011, also put the port in a good position to compete for traffic into the future, he added.

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