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London Gateway, the new global shipping port and logistics centre project, will open in the fourth quarter of 2013 with an initial capacity of 1.6 million TEU – paving the way for 36,000 jobs to be created.

By locating Britain’s most environmentally friendly major new port and what is set to become Europe’s largest logistics park on London’s doorstep, UK business will soon be able to take advantage of a more cost effective, greener way of getting the nation’s goods to consumers.

DP World, the Dubai headquartered group that is the world’s third largest port operator, has been laying the foundations for the new port since early 2010 and is expecting to invest a further $1 billion in London Gateway over the next three years. In addition to the opening date, DP World has announced the creation of an extra 1,000 new jobs for the UK, 700 new construction jobs and 300 new port jobs in the coming months. Estimates predict that as many as 36,000 jobs will be created in the long term from the project, providing some £3.2 billion to the UK economy each year. The project has already created more than 600 jobs since January 2010 when major construction work started at the site.

The company also today moved to award four major port equipment contracts. Representatives from companies ZPMC and Cargotec attended an event at London Gateway. ZPMC will provide eight quay cranes, which will be the largest in the world, able to handle the next generation container vessels of 18,000 TEU capacity. ZPMC will also provide rail mounted gantry cranes for the port’s rail terminal. Cargotec will provide automated stacking cranes and straddle carriers to be used in the port.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, and Shipping Minister Mike Penning joined DP World Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Vice Chairman Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Sharaf and the rest of the DP World Board at London Gateway on Tuesday to mark the formal announcement and tour the site.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World, said: “We are delighted to announce a definitive opening date for the new port, which is a unique infrastructure development for the UK. London Gateway will help UK businesses improve efficiency and competiveness. It will provide the UK with a premier, world class global trading centre. Our investment in London Gateway reflects our long term commitment to the UK and to our customers trading in this market.”

Mohammed Sharaf, Chief Executive of DP World, said: “London Gateway is a giant leap forward for the UK’s supply chains and will benefit our customers tremendously through more efficient transportation of goods; it will also support wider UK business and economic growth. London Gateway will provide the world class service that our customers have come to expect from DP World across the globe, using the most advanced equipment and technology. London Gateway’s location is unique, bringing the world’s largest ships directly to Europe’s largest logistics park, providing long-term value for our customers and UK business.”

Dr Vince Cable, Business Secretary, added: “The opening of London Gateway in just two years’ time will transform the UK’s maritime port infrastructure and play an important role in helping Britain’s economy grow in the coming years. It will help Britain to maintain its competitiveness, drive productivity, and crucially strengthen our links with Asia and beyond. The importance of this project cannot be overestimated. The announcement of these 1,000 new jobs today is a welcome boost to the UK.”

London Gateway is set to become the premier UK logistics centre. Once complete, the new port and park facility will save UK businesses millions of pounds every year in land transport costs. An estimated 65 million road freight miles every year will be saved as many goods will no longer need to be transported from deep sea ports to inland distribution centres. Instead, goods will be sent straight into the new London Gateway Logistics Park and then directly to shops and homes.

Shipping Minister Mike Penning said: “As an island trading nation, having the ability to handle the world’s largest ships efficiently and effectively is vital for Britain, and London Gateway will play a key role in delivering this. This major investment shows that Britain is open for business and is an excellent example of the type of investment we will be supporting through our Logistics Growth Review, where we are aiming to create the right conditions for private sector-led investment. It demonstrates how a focus on growth, innovation and encouraging private sector investment will help us to create the jobs that are so vital to the UK’s recovery. This new port and logistics centre will form a central part of our nation’s future infrastructure so I am delighted to welcome this announcement today”.

Simon Moore, Chief Executive of London Gateway said: “I’m very pleased to be able to take London Gateway forward to opening, our team is 100% committed to delivering supply chain savings from Q4 2013 onwards. London Gateway will offer a unique proposition to British cargo owners. Importers and exporters will be provided greater choice and opportunity to take costs out of their supply chains and reduce their environmental impact.”