Maersk Line and MSC temporarily switched its TA4 route linking the UK with several US ports from Felixstowe to Liverpool last year – and has now made the switch permanent. Tony McDonough reports
Port of Liverpool boss Mark Whitworth says the “tide is turning” in Liverpool’s favour after securing a permanent transatlantic cargo route.
Last year the 2M alliance, which comprises Maersk Line and MSC, temporarily switched its TA4 route linking the UK with several US ports from Felixstowe to Liverpool following a period of disruption at the Suffolk facility.
However, now 2M has announced the switch will be permanent and that its huge cargo vessels will be making regular calls to the Mersey. The service is currently used to export UK cargo such as food produce and retail, but also is attracting interest for trade in manufacturing and industrial goods.
Mr Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports, said: “The tide is clearly turning in Liverpool’s favour as shipping lines and their customers see the evidence for how our location can benefit the whole supply chain.
“The South East has congested ports, an acute haulier shortage and major concerns about the impact of Brexit on continental trade. The logistics business is naturally risk-averse, especially in these unprecedented times, but it’s clear that the rewards are there for those prepared to take bold moves.”
One of the companies using the service is YKK (UK), the global manufacturer of zips and industrial fastenings, for refilling spools of metal in the US which are then returned to its Runcorn facility for making into specialist automotive parts used around the world.
Paul Kelly, supply chain manager for the company, said: “The solution streamlines our supply chain, reducing mileage, carbon usage and costs. Working with Peel Ports, MA Logistics and MSC, we’ve been able to use the proximity of Liverpool to our Runcorn base and this new transatlantic service to benefit both the environment and our operations.”
The service will use a port rotation that takes in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven, Liverpool, Newark, Savannah, Port Everglades and North Charleston.
Asbjorn Kops, trade and marketing director of Maersk, said: “Switching our transatlantic service temporarily to Liverpool allowed us to maintain our comprehensive UK offering with a wide range of connections to our global network.
“Based on demand and interest from businesses across the North West we are pleased to be making this change permanent.”
Last year Peel Ports introduced a rail freight service directly from the Port of Liverpool in partnership with DB Cargo. It is now the only major UK container terminal to offer tri-modal connectivity, with road, rail and water, the Manchester Ship Canal, plus short-sea shipping.