DP World’s London Gateway container port has signed up the U.K.’s biggest food and apparel retailer, Marks & Spencer, as the first customer for its giant logistics park.
M&S plans to invest £200 million ($310 million) in a 900,000-square-foot distribution center adjoining the container port, which is scheduled to open at the end of the year.
The announcement is a major boost for Dubai’s DP World, which has yet to name the first ocean carrier that will use the $2.25 billion deep-water container port, located on the River Thames 25 miles from downtown London.
London Gateway will be M&S’s third major distribution hub, which is replacing 100 smaller warehouses across the U.K. as part of a $1.5 billion investment in logistics and IT systems.
“London Gateway will help us become more efficient by cutting costs and locating our supply chain closer to our stores and our international markets,” M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland said.
London Gateway will have an initial annual capacity of 1.6 million 20-foot-equivalent units, rising eventually to 3.5 million TEUs.
DP World, which inherited London Gateway in its takeover of the U.K.’s P&O Ports in 2006, put the project on hold following the global financial crisis two years later, but decided to start construction in 2010.