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Light freight investment

Home deliveries of parcels has boomed recently. Our love of online shopping shows no signs of waning, what if we could make those deliveries a little greener?

Currently in London around 700m parcels are delivered annually, requiring 5m van journeys to deliver them. By 2030, the number of van journeys required is projected to reach 8.5m. Our proposition will shift a percentage onto river freight, developing a chain of providers and investment opportunities.

Research indicates that the River Thames is currently under-utilised and has the potential to transform deliveries as a commercial light freight corridor into London. Taking deliveries off the road and onto the river is not only a more reliable route, it cuts road emissions and congestion.

Operators, logistics companies and retailers have been quick to see the opportunity identified in our Light Freight Feasibility Report and we expect more large brands to begin using the river this year. The opportunity for making better use of the river is huge and aligns with net zero ambitions.

Green and ethical consumerism is growing as recent reports by Deloitte, Kantar, Accenture and Ipsos Mori (to name but a few) indicate. As wealth passes to generation Z this trend is clearly sustainable.

Current investment opportunities

We have developed the commercial case for modal shift, including ownership models for piers and wharves to grow the sector, generating £53m GVA annually. We have convened partners – including the Port of London Authority and commercial operators – to create a robust and comprehensive investment case for the first time.

  • Currently, we are developing an investment opportunity around wharf and pier ownership.

Opportunities will be regularly updated as they evolve.

Get in touch today

Our ambition is to deliver projects in a short timescale. We want to drive forward better and greener use of the River Thames.

We have created and facilitate a network of river operators, delivery companies and commercial customers keen to move light freight and parcels by river. Investors interested in being part of the group can get in touch and we can broker contacts between partners.

We invite investors, researchers and developers, businesses and universities to get in touch to be part of this exciting project.


The Thames Estuary Light Freight Feasibility study

Our light freight feasibility study sets out:

  • The framework for developing a viable light freight solution on the River Thames.
  • Current and potential scale of river use for light freight.
  • Business sectors that would benefit.
  • Benefits for both business and the wider public.
  • Clear next steps for making this a reality.
  • Opportunities for investment.

Graphic showing the benefits of the Thames Estuary river freight study.

Supporting better use of the river

The Thames Estuary Growth Board’s work is about unlocking the vast potential of the Thames Estuary, the UK’s best growth opportunity. The region has the potential to create 1.3 million jobs and add £190 billion to the nations’ economy by 2050.

We are committed to unlocking this through good, green growth and making this the cleanest Estuary in the world. Read about our plans in the Green Blue.

Our region currently produces more carbon emissions than any of the UK’s industrial clusters, changing that through better use of the river will make a significant impact on the country’s emissions.

We are proud to be driving forwards better and greener use of the river with partners in the region including the Port of London Authority, and Cross River Partnership, and recognise the excellent current examples of river use for parcel trade (by DHL working with Thames Clipper, for example) and hospital supplies (Guys and St Thomas NHS Trust with CEVA Logistics and Livett’s marine logistics).

The Green Blue our vision