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Port of London Authority launches Investment Plan

Thursday, 17 May 2018 | 00:00

The Port of London Authority (PLA) has launched an Investment Plan aimed at accelerating delivery of the goals in the Thames Vision and diversifying the PLA's income streams.

All investments made under the plan will have a clear link to the PLA strategy to Protect, Improve and Promote and be judged on the degree to which they enable the delivery of the ambitions set out in the Thames Vision. The plan is to target three broad categories of investment: commercial investments supporting river/port use; long term investments with a long payback period, which also deliver public benefits; and public benefit investments, with no financial return expected

The Thames Vision is a 20-year development framework for the river, created with stakeholders over 18 months from early 2015 to mid-2016. Across six goals, the Vision targets greater river use, alongside an improving environment. The Vision is being delivered in partnership by the PLA and stakeholders. Key elements of the Vision are reflected in the London Plan and the Mayor of London's environment and transport strategies.

PLA chairman, Christopher Rodrigues CBE, said: “We have built up a strategic cash reserve over many years to provide us with scope to make beneficial investments and to provide a buffer against economic downturns.

“We're going to turn that reserve to active use, sustaining and growing river use and improving the environment. The Thames Vision sets out really ambitious goals and this is us doing our bit to kick start development and growth. This isn't just for us to do alone, but we see a unique opportunity to use our reserves to lever in other funds and increase all kinds of river use.

“As a Trust Port we have scope to invest for the longer term, often this is just what is needed to make river developments viable. You should expect to see a broad mix of projects supported as the commitment in the Vision is to grow river use alongside an improving environment.”

Rodrigues launched the Investment Plan at the PLA's Annual Stakeholder Forum, where he also provided updates on the Air Quality Strategy for the tidal Thames and new long term agreements to support the Thames Festival Trust and, separately, the Thames Explorer Trust to deliver lessons to school children.

He explained: “Our strategy as Custodians of the tidal Thames is to Protect, Improve and Promote. Together the Investment Plan and other developments make up a comprehensive package of innovation, investment and partnerships to deliver the strategy. In combination, they are set to make a genuine difference to the ongoing development of the Thames.”

The first investment under the new PLA approach will be in partnership with CEMEX UK to improve ship unloading infrastructure at its Northfleet terminal. Under the agreement, the PLA will be investing over £3 million in the installation of a new conveyor system at the site. The conveyor will improve cargo discharge performance at the site, which handles sand and gravel used in the London construction market.

CEMEX's Marine Director, Laurence Dagley, commented: “This type of investment approach is ideal for us. We are already making substantial investments in a new dredger, giving us increased capacity over existing dredgers, so we welcome the opportunity to partner with the PLA which will assist us in another part of our marine dredging operations, by improving cargo handling at our site on the Thames. “London is an important market for us and this investment will provide a platform for future growth. We look forward to getting the new equipment up and running.”

At its Stakeholder Forum, the PLA reported an operating surplus of £7.3 million for 2017 (2016: £12.5 million); income rose by 2% to £58.4 million (2016: £56.9 million).
Source: Port Of London

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