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SG Test Page COVID-19

At the Port of London Authority (PLA) we are doing all we can to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our operations, so that essential fuel, food and other necessities continue to be available to families across London, the south east and more widely.

Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our teams is our primary concern and doing so will enable us to continue delivering our essential services.  The principal operational steps we have taken to minimise the risk of the virus spreading to PLA employees include:

  • the closure of our main port control centre and navigation centre at the Thames Barrier to non-essential visitors;
  • revised working procedures to minimise pilots’ contact with other staff;
  • checks to ensure vessels entering the port have submitted health declarations;
  • further segregation for other key groups including boat crews, the navigation systems team, marine services personnel, our civil engineers and marine engineers; 
  • additional cleaning of handrail, doors, shared equipment and other shared space; 
  • all office-based support services such as legal and finance moving as far as possible to home working, with a skeleton office presence where essential; and
  • appropriate arrangements for staff who fall into the identified vulnerable groups.

Our Executive Committee is meeting daily (using technology so this can be done remotely) to monitor and adjust our response to the developing situation.

The Port of London is one of the two largest ports in the UK by tonnage of goods handled. The services we provide are a key part of many supply chains, playing a vital role in all our daily lives. We will take further steps as the situation evolves to sustain our essential services, working closely with our customers, the UK Government, London Port Health Authority and other key stakeholders.

In line with Government guidelines, all large stakeholder events we had planned for the next 12 weeks have been cancelled or postponed. We will be using online channels to maintain dialogue, and share information, with stakeholders in the meantime.

To learn more about the London Port Health Authority's response to the coronavirus pandemic, click here.

Latest Updates

9 AprilAn Easter film message from the Port of London Authority: Since lock down, more than 1,000 ships have called on the Thames, where ports, terminals, shipping lines, towage companies, ourselves and many others are working together to keep the shelves stocked, fuel in the forecourts, medicines and other essentials supplied.  The #PortofLondon is working, so you can #stayhome. 

7 AprilPort of London had 423 commercial vessel movements, of which 225 were piloted.

Vessels arriving included container ship, Massholm to London Gateway and Sophia N arriving to the Tate & Lyle refinery with a cargo of raw cane sugar from southern Africa. We continued to build resilience in our operations, with three marine river inspectors successfully completing training to also work as pilot cutter coxswains at Gravesend.

30 March: The port saw 472 vessel movements and 215 pilotage acts

Vessels calling on the Thames included freight ferries operating on routes to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge; container ships arriving on services from Europe, the Far East and North America; and tankers from Germany and Finland.

24 MarchTaking additional steps to protect PLA employees and ensure that our essential services continue to be delivered

We made key changes:

  • Operational teams in Marine Services, Hydrographic Surveying and Civil Engineering, who provide support to ensure river safety through provision of services and systems, will operate an on-call service for essential work only. 
  • Harbour Service patrols in the upper district of the Thames (Teddington Lock to Putney) will cease; patrols in central London and downriver in the heart of the commercial port will continue.
  • All office staff will work from home, with travel into the office only in exceptional circumstances and this is absolutely necessary for the continuing functioning of frontline services
If you have any questions about how we are responding to this unprecedented challenge, do please get in touch. We will continue to update you with news as and when the situation changes.
You can keep in touch with PLA updates via our website www.pla.co.uk, Twitter (@LondonPortAuth), Facebook and LinkedIn.


Tidal Thames News

14 April
7 April
30 March
25 March
24 March
18 March