Following the opening of The Logistics Terminal (TLT) at the Port of Tilbury in January 2011, the south-east appears to be emerging as a major logistical hub for the nation, as the new London Gateway container port also gears up for its grand opening.

According to Motor Transport, TLT saw a 100 per cent increase in throughput over the past 12 months, with an average of 160 containers processed each week.

The increased productivity of the port is likely to enable logistics suppliers in the south-east to expand their services due to greater volumes of imported and exported containers, which could well result in a widespread logistics and supply chain recruitment drive in the area.

In an attempt to further increase the efficiency of the facility and unlock its potential as a major link between the UK's supply chain and the rest of the world, Network Rail has announced plans to electrify a number of the region's key railway lines, therefore allowing the efficient transport of freight as it comes into the port.

In particular, the electrification of the line between Gospel Oak and Barking will enable freight from both Tilbury and the London Gateway to avoid the Great Eastern main line between Forest Gate Junction and Stratford, thus increasing the speed at which it can be transported.

Network Rail's plans will sit well with Mike Brown, managing director of Essex-based haulier Triple A Transport, who has lauded TLT by saying it “allows access to 30% of the UK’s consumers within a two hour drive”.

Meanwhile, development at the London Gateway, which is set to open in late 2013, appears to be going well, after the first three models of the world's tallest quay crane began their voyage to the site from a manufacturing facility in Shanghai.

At 138 metres high, each crane can lift 25 rows of containers at a time, with each row being wider than the world's largest container ship.

Tim Halhead, London Gateway operations director, commented that the cranes will enable the port to "deliver a reliable and consistently high level of productivity", providing estimated savings of £189 per container shipped to London and the south-east, and £59 per container to other areas of the country.

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