The River Thames could carry nearly double the amount of cargo and up to 20million tourists or commuters on its waters within 20 years.

The Port Of London Authority (PLA) - the body that manages the waterway - is looking at ways to utilise the river more and take traffic off surrounding roads.

• Also online: Vision for east London with 8 new river crossings

The organisation has been discussing ideas with the public, river stakeholders and other organisations across London and the South East for the last 10 months.

Two Thames Clippers near Canary Wharf

The goals within the PLA’s Thames Vision Goals And Priority Actions report are:

  • To make the river the busiest ever Port of London, handling 60 to 80million tonnes of cargo each year (in 2014 the port handled 44.5million tonnes)
  • Double the number of people travelling by river – reaching 20million commuter and tourist trips every year
  • Have more goods and materials moved between wharves on the river, taking 550,000 lorries trips off the region’s roads
  • The cleanest Thames since the industrial revolution, with improved habitats in the water and on adjoining land
  • Greater participation in sport and recreation on the water
Seal in the Thames

• Also online: Ice rink on the Thames proposed by team behind Greenwich shadowless skyscraper idea

PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer said: “When we started this project in March we were sure there was untapped potential in this great river. What we’ve found, working with hundreds of people and more than 70 organisations, has surpassed our expectations.

Kayaker on the Thames

“The cargo port the biggest it’s ever been and doubling the number of passenger trips on the river are great goals to aim for. We can combine this with environmental improvement and drawing more people to the river to enjoy sport and cultural attractions. This is about opening our eyes to what the great River Thames can offer right in the heart of London and the South East.”

A consultation on the plans , which launched on Monday, December 14, will run until Monday, February 15.