Historically the Thames has been a major supply route carrying cargo and people and this continues to this day – in fact the Thames is Britain’s busiest inland waterway and, according to Port of London Authority, handles over 2 million tonnes of goods and materials per year.
The bulk transportation of building materials in to London has already been covered in another blog post and a future article will cover other types of bulk cargo that are handled at the Thames Refinery wharf.
This article focuses on the regular cargo operations undertaken by tugs with barges rather than the ship manoeuvring tug services.
Cory Environmental have a base at Charlton in SE London and from there they undertake the bulk transport of refuse from numerous pickup points along the river across central London. Cory operate a fleet of 5 tugs and 47 barges with each barge being able to carry 300 tonnes of refuse.
Walsh Marine Services also have a varied fleet of tugs, barges and pontoons which they use for the transport of building materials and equipment and for the removal of spoil.
GPS Marine has one of the larger fleets of tugs and barges and they have a mooring facility at Victoria Gardens in North Woolwich. GPS transport materials and spoil as well as other specialist towing tasks – see here.
There are numerous other tug operators on the Thames including:
More pictures of tugs operating on the Thames can be seen here.