The Port of London lies along the banks of the River Thames from London, England to the North Sea. Once the largest port in the World, it is currently the United Kingdom's second largest port, after Grimsby & Immingham. The port is governed by the Port of London Authority (PLA), a public trust established in 1908, whose responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames.
The port can handle cruise liners, ro-ro ferries and Cargo of all types including containers, timber, paper, vehicles, aggregates, crude oil, petroleum products, liquified petroleum gas, coal, metals, grain and other dry and liquid bulk materials. In 2008 the Port of London handled 53.0 million tonnes of trade (up from 52.7 million tonnes in 2007), including 2,007,000 TEUs and 20.5 million tonnes of oil and related products.
The Port of London today comprises over 70 independently owned terminals and port facilities, directly employing over 30,000 people. These are mainly concentrated at Purfleet (with the world's largest margarine works), Thurrock, Tilbury (the Port's current main container facility), Coryton and Canvey Island in Essex, Dartford and Northfleet in Kent, and Greenwich, Silvertown, Barking, Dagenham and Erith in Greater London.