New Port of London Authority chairman, Christopher Rodrigues has heralded a bright future for the tidal Thames.

Addressing over 250 representatives of companies and organisations on the Thames and including shipping minister Robert Goodwill MP, he highlighted strong prospects for growth and a new skills academy to facilitate the training of people to work on the river.

A strong year of growing river use saw port trade exceed 45 million tonnes and over 10 million passengers travel on the river.  He said activity on the river is expected to grow strongly over the next 20 years, with the Thames Vision consultation project identifying six goals for growth.

They include the biggest ever Port of London; 20 million boat passengers on the river; more freight moved on the Thames; greater participation in sport combined with an improved environment and more people enjoying the river than ever before.

The Thames Vision consultation closed in mid-February and drew over 120 responses.  The responses will be published on the PLA website shortly and the outline plan for delivery will be published in the next few months.

Mr Rodrigues (pictured above) said: “The Vision is a perfect device for gathering together all river users – large and small – behind a programme that ensures the development of a vibrant, safe, commercially successful river not just in the next year or two, but for 20 years ahead. It is the beating heart of our city and a great future beckons.

 "Well-trained, skilled people are vital to making the most of the new opportunities highlighted in the Thames Vision.  The recently created Thames Skills Academy (TSA), a new initiative by the PLA, Transport for London, Tideway (who are building the Thames Tideway Tunnel) and the Company of Watermen & Lightermen, will be established as a Group Training Association - a learning and skills partnership where employers subscribe to sector-specific off-the-job training in order to provide efficient, expertly-delivered skills that meet the River’s needs.

 “ For young people coming to the river at the start of their working lives, and indeed for experienced workers as they up-skill, the TSA will be a critical resource.  It will make sure river workers are equipped to contribute directly and indirectly to the Tideway project, the biggest single development project on the Thames in over a century. 

 “Beyond that, in five or six years’ time, when Tideway has finished its work and the Thames is much cleaner, there will be a pool of skilled labour ready to move on to the next major project making use of the Thames.”

Story dated March 27th 2016