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New Thames crossing is ‘vital after Brexit’ Minister warns

PUBLISHED: 11:33 09 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 09 April 2017

Port of London conference on 20-year plan for Thames after Brexit [pictures: Todd White]

Port of London conference on 20-year plan for Thames after Brexit [pictures: Todd White]

©Todd-White Art Photography 2017

A new Thames crossing is vital if Britain is to maintain its dominant trading position after quitting the EU, business leaders and politicians have been warned.

Maritime minister John Hayes warning the Thames conference Maritime minister John Hayes warning the Thames conference

The stark forecast came at the Port of London Authority’s round-table infrastructure conference about connections needed to cope with the growth of trade on the river forecast over the next 20 years.

“Improving road, rail and river transport links will boost the connections between our ports and key markets,” Maritime minister John Hayes said.

“Ports play a vital role in the economy as our gateway for exports. We want to explore ways to improve transport links for economic growth.”

He was addressing representatives from port terminals, local authorities along the Thames, the Department of Transport, Network Rail and TfL on bringing the Thames back to life as one of the world’s major ports.

Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle Price hosting Thames conference Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle Price hosting Thames conference

Trade is set to grow by 30 million tonnes by 2037, having risen last year alone by 10 per cent to 50 million tonnes.

The government is putting £15 billion into road schemes and £40bn into the rail network, the weekend conference heard.

Port of London chief executive Robin Mortimer said: “We are focussing on the Lower Thames crossing with its trading implications of leaving the European Union and the UK’s freight strategy.”

The 30 business leaders, transport bosses and politicians at the conference hosted by Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle Price included representatives from port terminals that handle major cargoes for Shell, Ford, Tate & Lyle, Tarmac and Cemex.

They were thrashing out how to kickstart the 20-year plan for land and river connections to speed up the flow of goods from manufacturers for export and from the terminals to the major UK markets.

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