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19th April 2021

We are delighted to announce WSP, one of the world’s leading engineering professional services consultancies, as our light freight partner.

In our action plan, The Green Blue, we set out our objective of delivering the world’s greenest, most productive Estuary. A key part of this is to explore how the River Thames can be better used for freight, moving it off London roads to ease congestion and air pollution, whilst also supporting regeneration and boosting economic growth. WSP will help make this a reality.

WSP’s commission will entail presenting a well-researched, well-costed business case and concrete next steps for the development of river freight. This research will be shared with government and industry in order to realise the potential for river freight.

WSP will identify stakeholders through Port of London Authority (PLA) as well as its own extensive networks and work closely with them to find a solution that works for everyone. WSP’s freight team has much experience engaging with stakeholders, ensuring complete understanding, listening to ideas and addressing concerns.

Businesses will be the ultimate users of the river. As such, river freight will require support from those businesses. WSP will provide the necessary understanding and confidence to begin collaboration and investment in river freight. River freight also needs to be a viable option for supply chains, proving that it can compete on cost, quality of service, reliability and efficiency.

A core part of the Thames Estuary Growth Board’s role is to achieve good, green growth – growth that is sustainable and works with the wealth of natural resources around us, never against them. Utilising the river for freight is a great opportunity to push forward the net zero agenda, as new investment would help develop new industries in green power, such as hydrogen.

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board commented: “We are so passionate about achieving good, green growth in the Thames Estuary and capitalising on this great resource – the River Thames – that has so much untapped potential. WSP’s understanding of the fantastic potential of the river for freight, and the enormous environmental and social benefits it can bring, mean we are on the right track to a highly successful partnership.”

Prof Jim Coleman, Head of Economics at WSP commented: “We are very excited to take on this important commission for the Thames Estuary Growth Board which offers a critical opportunity to rethink how the River Thames can be used to transport different types of goods and freight. Decarbonising our transport network is a vital component of the UK’s ambition to be a net zero economy by 2050, and this study will provide an example of what is possible with the right level of creative thinking and commercial innovation.”

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