Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Historic London Wharf to Resume Freight Operations

Quay to be Used for Shipping Building Materials into the Heart of the City
Shipping News Feature
UK – For many years the story of London’s historic docks and wharves has been one of redevelopment for housing as London’s traditional freight barges have been superceded by road haulage operations. However, the congestion that the expanding city is experiencing as it grows means that some of the remaining sites along the River Thames are now seeing a new lease of life as they are redeveloped to get heavy trucks off the roads, and into the heart of the capital, without clogging its land-bound arteries whilst helping to reduce pollution.

Peruvian Wharf in Newham is to be developed as a centre for low-carbon transport of building materials in East London by the Port of London Authority (PLA) who acquired the site after a fight over use of the wharf when the former landowner didn’t reactivate it for cargo-handling as it was legally obliged to do.

The PLA paid more than £3 million for Peruvian Wharf and will now build an improved road prior to letting the site on a long-term lease to the construction group Brett, which will develop an integrated buildings material terminal on the wharf which is expected to be operational late in 2017. PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer said:

“We’ve fought long and hard to get Peruvian Wharf back into use. It’s ideally placed to service East London’s growth, underlining the importance of retaining strategically located sites for cargo handling. The river will play a key role in servicing the construction of at least 260,000 new homes and communities, offering 360,000 jobs. This will help keep tens of thousands of lorries off London’s roads every year, reducing air pollution and improving local people’s quality of life.”

As with many of London’s historic wharves the name gives a clue to the origins of the cargo first landed there. The wharf was in fact christened Peruvian Guano Wharf which gives one an instant picture of the type of goods originally imported. Peruvian guano was much sought after having ‘the colour of Scotch snuff’ and ‘the manuring power four times greater than pigeon dung’ according to the British Farmers Magazine of 1845. Use of the wharf latterly passed onto Tate & Lyle as part of the company’s sugar refining empire which provided work for many Silvertown locals for many years. Deputy Mayor for transport, Val Shawcross welcomed news of the wharf’s future, saying:

“Over two million tonnes of cargo are moved between wharves on the Thames each year. This keeps more than 150,000 lorry trips off London’s roads, reducing congestion and pollution. We look forward to seeing Peruvian Wharf back in use and serving construction projects in East London as soon as possible.”

Photo: The wharf as it is today.