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New dry discharge system opens on the Thames


CEMEX and Port of London Authority officially open new marine aggregates dredger offloading facility at Northfleet Wharf

A NEW £3.8 million dry discharge system at CEMEX’s Northfleet Wharf, in Kent, was officially opened last week. CEMEX partnered with the Port of London Authority (PLA) on the investment, which will ensure a more sustainable and flexible operation.

As a result of this investment, CEMEX’s marine dredgers, which bring sand and gravel into Northfleet from licensed offshore locations in the North Sea and the English Channel, will be able to arrive fully laden for the first time, increasing the capacity of the site by approximately 350,000 tonnes per year to between 800,000 and 850,000 tonnes.

This will allow CEMEX to provide more material to their on-site building products plant, reducing the need for aggregates to be transported in from other locations. It will also deliver considerable sustainability benefits, as every dredger load will reduce the need for 250 lorries on the region’s busy roads.

Marine-dredged sand and gravel operations and working sustainably are critical to CEMEX UK’s business, and the company has confirmed that it will take delivery of a new state-of-the-art aggregates dredger in spring of 2020. The ship represents a significant investment and the first new ship in the CEMEX marine dredger fleet in more than 20 years.

Prior to the offloading facility investment, the wharf at Northfleet was the only wet discharge system remaining in CEMEX’s UK portfolio, but it was prone to blockages and limited the products and volumes that could be brought into the site.

The new dry discharge system will increase the reliability and flexibility of the wharf, reducing the risk of blockages and ensuring ships can bring in exactly the right materials, as needed. The site will, therefore, be better able to balance its stocks, providing CEMEX’s customers with an improved service.

Laurence Dagley (pictured right), managing director of CEMEX UK Materials South, said: ‘We are grateful for our positive relationship with the PLA, and thankful for their support. Not only will this investment allow us to better serve the London market, opening up opportunities for growth and securing the future of the wharf, but it also promises a considerable sustainability benefit by taking trucks off the road.

‘CEMEX’s UK strategy focuses on London and the other metropolitan markets across the country, as we believe increasing urbanization will drive greater demand growth in these markets. It is, therefore, vital that our sites in these areas are developed to ensure they can support this strategy.

‘Thanks to the funding from PLA, we have been able to invest our own resources into other assets, such as CEMEX Go Innovation, our state-of-the-art marine aggregates dredger, which will arrive in the UK later this year.’

Robin Mortimer (pictured left), chief executive of the PLA, commented: ‘This investment is central to our long-term Thames Vision work, to maximize the use of the tidal river between Teddington and the coast, for both freight and passenger transport.

‘Our aim is to do this while also protecting the environment and making the most of the river’s social and recreational potential. Crucially, this conveyor also generates a commercial return for us, which we will reinvest in other projects to enhance the river, for the benefit of all its users and the environment at large.’

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