£400m Liverpool2 port facility aims to grab a fifth of the UK container market

At present, the Port of Liverpool has an 8% share of the container market and owner Peel Ports predicts this could rise to between 15% and 20% over the coming years. Tony McDonough reports.

Peel Ports chief executive Mark Whitworth, left, with Government Minister Dr Liam Fox
Peel Ports chief executive Mark Whitworth, left, with Government Minister Dr Liam Fox

Liverpool’s new £400m deep water container terminal could see the port grab up to a 20% market share of the UK container market.

Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox was at the official opening of Liverpool2 which is equipped to handle 95% of the world’s biggest container vessels.

At present, the Port of Liverpool has an 8% share of the container market and owner Peel Ports predicts this could rise to between 15% and 20% over the coming years.

Liverpool2 will create around 500 jobs at the port directly and up to 5,000 in the wider city region logistics sector.

It will provide a hi-tech gateway UK importers and exporters with road, rail and canal connections linking directly to the heart of the UK mainland.

Business using the facility will be able to access a catchment of more than 35m people – almost 58% of the UK’s population.

Liverpool2 will complement the existing Royal Seaforth Container Terminal at the existing Port of Liverpool, with each terminal having capacity to handle around 1m containers a year.

The Port is already the country’s biggest transatlantic port (45% market share) and the only major container port in the north or west of the UK.

At the launch Mark Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports, said: “Our investment will help global shippers to transport cargo more efficiently to their end destination with lower costs, congestion and carbon emissions.

An MSC vessel taking part in marine trials at Liverpool2
An MSC vessel taking part in marine trials at Liverpool2

“Liverpool is in the right location, providing state-of-the art facilities and technology, and offers a real competitive advantage with a shorter supply chain and providing an all-water route right to the heart of the UK via the Manchester Ship Canal.

“Liverpool 2 will create a new trading gateway in the UK.”

Key aspects of Liverpool2 include:

  • The terminal construction has seen a site of around 16 hectares reclaimed from the sea. There is a new 854m quay wall and land created from 5.5m tonnes of sand and silt dredged from the Mersey. The site currently has five ‘megamax’ ship to shore (STS) transfer cranes and 12 quayside container handling cranes (known as CRMGs). Ultimately there will be another three STS cranes and 10 CRMGs. These alone have cost £100m.
  • The apex of the STS cranes is 92m – four metres short of the height of Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben clock tower). When the boom is raised, it is more than 130m high.
  • 35 million people in the UK & Ireland live closer to Liverpool than the traditional container ports in the South of England.
  • 58% of the UK’s population is closer to Liverpool than its competitor ports in the south.
  • 112km radius around Liverpool has the largest volume and density of large warehousing of any UK region.
  • More than 28% of the UK’s large warehousing is located in that area.

Dr Fox added:  “Exporting is vital to the economic health of our nation. This investment at Liverpool2 will boost crucial cargo capacity, create local jobs and is yet another sign that the UK is open for business with the world.

“Liverpool is ideally located to increase our trade with countries west of the UK, including the US, Canada and South America, and this new port opens up even more opportunities with new markets and export destinations for UK businesses.”

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