The port of London is located on the River Thames. There is not one location for the port, as its docks stretch way along the Thames towards the sea, although the main office is right in the heart of the city. London is one of the top three ports in the UK, handling over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year. The port is a world leader in the shipping industry. Not just due to its prominent location, but also due to the fact that shipments leave London for all parts of the world. All areas of Africa, the Americas and Europe, are all covered by the shipping schedule from the port of London.
Container transit to and from the port is made easier by the fact that the ports location is relatively close to the major motorway networks of the south. The ports proximity to the M25, M1, M4, M2 and M20, gives London a huge advantage for container transportation around the country. The port of London probably has the best inland transport links for container transit. Every major destination within the UK, will be serviced by a road leaving London, which is why it is a world player in container shipping.
The London orbital (M25), circles the capital and its surrounding areas, with links to all major areas. The M1 motorway travels straight up to the North of England and beyond, with the M4 heading West from the capital, and the M2 and M20 motorways both servicing the South East.
The port is run by the PLA (Port of London Authority). Established in 1909, the port handled 18.6 million tons of cargo in its first full year. In 2007 London was the second largest port in the UK, handling 52 million tonnes of cargo, and also handles the most non-fuel cargo of any port in the UK. In 2007 London’s handling of 20 ft shipping containers exceeded 2 million for the first time in the ports history, and this trend continued in 2008. Shipping trade to and from the port of London accounts for around 10% of the UK total, and contributes over £8 billion to the UK economy.
Expansion of the port of London commenced in 2010, and although these developments could take several years, once complete, London could once again become the biggest port in the UK.