Giant cranes taller than the London Eye, are on their way from China to London Gateway, the UK’s new deep-water container port being built on the Thames.

The cranes, the largest in the world and each weighing 1848 tons, are 138 metres high compared with the 135 of the Eye.

They are so large they can reach across 25 rows of containers on a deck, far more than currently needed for the world's largest container ships. Yet each crane is operated by just one person.

Tim Halhead, London Gateway Operations Director said: “The size of the cranes future proofs the port, allowing London Gateway to handle the next generation of ultra large container ships. These cranes are among the most advanced in the industry, assisting [us] to deliver a reliable and consistently high level of productivity.”

The cranes which are due to arrive early next month will be semi-automated, connected to the port's computerised Terminal Operating System, which tracks the containers and sends work orders to the crane operator.

The port near Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, will be able to handle 3.5 million containers annually when it's fully open. The first of its six berths will start operations towards the end of this year.

Thames tides will enable the largest ships to dock at the port more easily than at many competitors ensuring ships load and unload as fast as possible.

Alongside the port will be Europe's largest logistics and distribution site allowing goods to be despatched across the country, to Ireland and to the Continent quicker and more cheaply than at present..

Billed by its backers DP World as " UK’s first 21st Century major deep-sea container port" London Gateway is seen as Europe's first port of call for Ultra Large Container Ships. The company says it will be " a world class asset for the UK."

Watch video of London Gateway

Pictures: London Gateway / DP World

Story dated February 4th 2013

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