Runcorn Docks has recorded its highest monthly volume of freight in 25 years, shipping 50,126 tonnes of cargo in December 2014 alone.
The cumulative weight of the record shipment of cargo is equivalent to more than 31,420 Range Rover Evoques, more than 66.8m boxes of Kellogg’s Cornflakes, more than 122 million tins of beans, or more than 388m of the new smaller sized iPhone 6.
In the same month, the port also handled its biggest ever single shipment of cargo in its history, with the arrival of vessel Kristin C, which discharged 6,212 tonnes of Soda Ash for its customer Newport Industries Ltd. The ash will be used to manufacture glass.
Over the past 12 months, tonnage handled by the port has increased by 48% from 275,978t in 2013 to 408,636t last year.
This figure is expected to increase by a further 12.5% in 2015 as Runcorn is forecast to handle around 460,000t of cargo.
Peel Ports Group has invested more than £3.4million in improvements to facilities at Runcorn Docks in the last five years, including the renovation and development of its warehousing capabilities and the introduction of two new Liebherr material handler cranes.
The cranes which alone represent an investment of £1 million have improved operational performance and flexibility of cargo handling at the port. This has helped increased cargo handling capabilities, as well as delivering maximum benefits to its customers.
In recent years Peel Ports has invested a significant sum to develop the Manchester Ship Canal as a green alternative to road freight and also in order to handle the increase in cargo it is expecting from its new £300m deep water dock known as Liverpool2, which will open in December 2015.
The new deep-water terminal, which will double capacity at the Port of Liverpool and allow it to handle 95% of the world’s ships, is expected to create 5,000 new jobs in the region.
Port Director, David Huck, said:
“Year on year we are seeing continued growth at Runcorn Docks.
“The fact that we have just witnessed the best month in terms of cargo tonnage in the last 25 years and welcomed the largest cargo ship in the history of the port shows that it is fast becoming a significant port of call along the Manchester Ship Canal.
“These record breaking figures reflect the benefits of our continued investment into the quayside facilities at Runcorn and gives us a positive outlook for the future.
“Trade along the Manchester Ship Canal continues to grow, as customers are becoming more aware of the advantages of this direct link to the industrial heartland of the UK.
“Peel Ports’ strategic port locations mean that we not only offer the best solution for importing and exporting goods, but we also provide the quickest and most efficient routes to market.”
Graham Goodall, business development manager at Francis Flower, who use Peel Ports’ Runcorn Docks to transport dry bulk minerals, said:
“At Francis Flower we have a long association with Peel Ports’ Runcorn Dock facility and we have always received excellent service in all aspects of the work undertaken for us.
“Over the years our company has expanded significantly and Runcorn Docks have helped this happen. The good working relationships we have with Staff at all levels has been a significant factor in the efficient operation of our business.”