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Light freight handling could reach 20m parcels if Thames’ potential

Wednesday 09 February 2022 9:24 am

The River Thames has a lot of untapped potential, according to a new study.

When it comes to light freight handling, the River Thames has a lot of untapped potential which needs only to be unlocked, said a new research.

Commissioned by the Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Port of London Authority, the ‘Light Freight on the River Thames’ report highlighted that using the river to handle 20 million parcels – just a 3 per cent of the 700 million delivered in London – would make it competitive with traditional road freight.

To make light-handling on the Thames a reality, the study, carried out by engineering professional services consultancy WSP, suggested establishing a political body to lobby with stakeholders as well as pushing for an increase in road pricing to ease van traffic.

“The Thames is home to the UK’s largest port and inland waterway and provides a sustainable and reliable, congestion free highway into the heart of the capital,” said Port of London Authority’s director of planning and environment James Trimmer.

“The WSP report shows how joining the dots between port and consumer is a very real possibility and one which will deliver manifest environmental and wider social benefits.”

Huge environmental benefits such as the reduction of CO2 and congestion levels as well as an improvement of air quality could be achieved by tapping into the river.

“This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss, as we continue to strive towards net zero and deliver the world’s cleanest, greenest Estuary,” added Perry Glading, Deputy Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and our lead on light freight.

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