A FALL in crude oil volumes took the Olympics shine off Port of London’s 2012 half-year results, as total cargo throughputs fell 6.8% to 22.4m tonnes over last year’s like period. Closure of Coryton oil refinery “a big blow”, admits Port of London Authority (PLA ) chief executive.
The PLA said trade has been “dramatically affected” by the difficulties at the Coryton oil refinery. “Crude oil tonnages were down by almost 1m tonnes or 28.13% as production at the refinery was patchy from the beginning of the year, through to the announcement of closure in May,” it said. “A total of 8.3m tonnes of crude oil and oil products was handled at the terminals in the port between January and the end of June.” Tonnages of unitised cargo — containers and ro-ro — were flat at 7.3m tonnes, as were forest products at 582,000 tonnes. Aggregates were down 9.5% to 3.5m tonnes.
PLA chief executive Richard Everitt said: “Overall we have had a very difficult start to the year on port trade. “The Coryton refinery was the biggest single customer of the PLA, handling in excess of 8m tonnes of oil and refined products a year. Its closure is a big blow for a port, with annual throughput last year of 48m tonnes.” Mr Everitt said plans by Vopak, Greenergy and Shell to develop an oil products import terminal on the Coryton site were “very welcome”. “Over the next few months, we will support the development of their terminal plans, and the other operations developing or consolidating on the river. “Inevitably, in the meantime, we have to reduce our costs and look at operational efficiencies as we adapt to lower levels of income.”
Developments under way on the Thames include the London gateway container port, which is expected to open in the fourt quarter of 2012, with teu of annual first-phase capacity.
Article from Lloyd's List
Published: Thursday 09 August 2012