Dubai Ports World has been given the go-ahead for its London Gateway container port and business park in Thurrock, Essex

The port is to be built on the 1,500 acre site of the former oil refinery at Shell Haven and will be capable of handling the largest deep-sea container ships. DP World plans to build a 2,300 metre container quay with a capacity of 3.5 million containers a year.

The London Gateway business park is a joint venture between Shell and DP World, covering 700 acres and providing distribution and manufacturing space.

The Shell Haven scheme was granted approval after a lengthy public inquiry in 2003, which concluded with the inspector recommending approval subject to conditions, including the provision of extra highway capacity in the area.

The government gave conditional approval to the £1.5bn scheme in July of 2005.

DP World inherited the project after buying P&O in March 2006.

Thurrock is the firm’s biggest investment project. Construction is planned to begin later this year. DP World aims to have the first occupiers on the park within 12-18 months and for the port to be operational from 2010.