The Port of London Authority has made strides to improve conditions on the Thames River as a result of record levels of freight and passengers. Some of the Port Authority’s investments include pier extensions at Plantation Wharf, two new MBNA Thames Clippers, and a London Titan maintenance vessel. The Thames River is a major shipping channel, and these investments will help ease congestion and improve efficiency. Learn about recent investments on the Thames and how they might impact your business.
New Passenger Pier at Plantation Wharf
One of the most noticeable changes is a new passenger pier at Plantation Wharf. It opened in April 2015, and it extends along the south bank of the Thames between the Wandsworth and Battersea bridges. Several other pier extensions like the Battersea Power Station Pier are in the planning stages, but the Plantation Wharf extension was the first and cost £2.8 million.
Chris Atherton, developer at Plantation Wharf Pier, stated, “Adding a passenger pier to this great riverside location is fantastic. It gives residents and workers here alike another option for getting into town. And what better way to go than by boat?”
Two New MBNA Thames Clippers
In addition to a passenger pier extension at Plantation Wharf, the Port of London Authority has also invested in two new high-speed passenger boats, known as MBNA Thames Clippers. These 150-passenger vessels can pass under low bridges and navigate shallow waters, which is ideal for the high and low tide conditions on this stretch of the Thames. The two new MBNA Thames clippers will be stationed at Plantation Wharf.
Passengers pay for trips on the new MBNA Thames Clippers though Oyster readers setup across Plantation Wharf pier. They can choose between the Galaxy Clipper and Neptune Clipper routes. Passenger volume has already risen considerably since the high-speed boats launched.
Sean Collins, CEO of MBNA Thames Clippers, said, “We started as a one-boat operation in 1999 carrying 21,000 passengers in our first year. Today we’ve got 14 vessels and this year we expect to have carried a total of 3.6 million passengers. The new boats will keep the service growing as more piers open up in west London.”
New London Titan Maintenance Vessel
The London Titan is a maintenance vessel that will serve the Thames River between Richmond and the Thames estuary. It will help keep the river clear of obstructions through mooring maintenance, hauling wreckage, recovering navigation buoys, and assisting civil engineering operations. The London Titan cost the Port of London Authority approximately £7 million.
Robin Mortimer, Port of London Authority Chief Executive, said, “We’ve got to keep the Thames fit and ready for all these vessels, and with over 40,000 jobs depending on the Thames, London Titan is a vital upgrade to our fleet.”
The Thames River gets more than 10 million passengers each year, in addition to 5 million tons of freight. The London Titan, MBNA Thames Clippers, and new passenger pier at Plantation Wharf will help relieve congestion on the Thames and help the UK’s maritime sector thrive.