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Port does its bit for Olympic effort
8:00am Friday 25th May 2012 in News
A BARGE loaded with furniture that will be used by some of the greatest athletes in the world left Tilbury Docks last Thursday.
The barge, pulled up the River Thames by a tug, was bound for the athletes’ village in Stratford where finishing touches are being made to the park ahead of the Olympic Games.
Olympic barge operations out of the Docks could open the flood gates for similar systems after the games, using the Thames as an alternative to clogging the A13 with lorries.
UPS, Panasonic and Omega are all using Tilbury Docks to store equpiment that will be used for the games, as it arrives from destinations around the world.
More than 30 million items for the Olympics, including furniture and sports equipment are heading for Stratford via the port, with a large majority of goods being transported on barges.
Revitalising London’s waterways has formed an important part of the Olympic programme.
One barge, loaded with 18 containers, means 18 less lorries are having to use the busy A13.
Investment in London’s waterways for the Olympics could mean goods leaving Tilbury Docks by tug and barge becomes a common sight in the future.
Perry Glading, Port of Tilbury managing director, said: “The significant thing here is the legacy that this barge leaving brings.
“Tilbury is a great hub for road, rail and sea. This has brought a focus on how the water can work. People don’t believe it until they see it.”
Christopher Livett, managing director of Bennetts Barges, which operates out of Tilbury up the River Thames, said: “Using barges is a natural alternative. This barge alone has taken 18 lorries off the road.
“A hundred years ago, politicians and big businesses began investing in roads to transport goods and now we’re going back in time.
“Tilbury Docks was built for this. Using more barges and tugs would create more jobs here and this is something we can do day and night.
“People in Thurrock have an association with the river and we could turn that into jobs by utilising the river for transport.”
Alan Williams, UPS director of London 2012 sponsorship and operations, said Tilbury had a vital role in the Olympics.
He added: “The barge operation is unique to these games and plays an important part in making these the greenest Games ever.”
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