Dubai: DP World London Gateway has awarded Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering a contract to build a rail terminal capable of handling the longest trains in the UK, the company said in a statement.

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering is to develop the first of three rail terminals and double track the branch line to the port, which will allow London Gateway to accommodate trains up to 34 wagons long.

"The rail terminal will be served directly from the fully automated yard where dedicated landside equipment will operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week even in very high wind conditions," the DP World statement said.

"This will allow traffic using the London Gateway rail terminal to have an unprecedented access to and from the container terminal storage area."

London Gateway is within close proximity to the East Coast and West Coast Main Lines that serve the UK's major cargo destinations including Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham and Liverpool.

Gina Acosta, London Gateway Rail Terminal Manager, said: "We recognise that customers are looking for a reliable service that will reduce transportation costs. With dedicated landside equipment and being located closer to the major UK markets, London Gateway offers an efficient - green solution to supply chains.

"With 33 per cent of all container traffic expected to leave London Gateway by rail, we are committed to having the right infrastructure and operational processes in place from day one."

DP World operates more than 60 terminals across six continents(1), with container handling generating around 80 per cent of its revenue. In addition, the company currently has 11 new developments and major expansions underway in 10 countries.

Marshall Scott, Managing Director at Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering said: "We are delighted to be working with London Gateway to build this important rail infrastructure which will help make the UK more competitive and create new options for distribution of freight."

Opening in the fourth quarter of 2013, London Gateway is set to become the premier UK logistics centre. When fully developed London Gateway port will handle 3.5 million TEU annually and the adjacent logistics park will be the largest in Europe.

Andrew Bowen, London Gateway Engineering Director said: "The rail infrastructure at London Gateway will deliver a superior customer service experience as we will provide dedicated land side equipment to ensure consistent reliable rail services for port and logistics park users."

In 2011, DP World handled nearly 55 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) across its portfolio from the Americas to Asia. With a pipeline of expansion and development projects in key growth markets, including India, China and the Middle East, capacity is expected to rise to around 103 million TEU by 2020, in line with market demand.