Peel Ports has worked with McLaughlin and Harvey to reinstate and upgrade two of its four berths, one of which was closed in January 2017. Tony McDonough reports
Peel Ports has invested £4m to fully reopen Runcorn Docks and says it expects the port facility will be able to handle 200 vessels a year.
Sited on the Manchester Ship Canal, the current Runcorn Docks complex dates back more than a century but the town first saw a dock open in 1826, built by the Mersey and Irwell Company. Located in an area known as Old Quay, on the east side of Runcorn Gap, it came under the control of the Port of Liverpool until 1847 when it was designated as an independent customs port.
Over the last 14 months, Peel Ports has worked with McLaughlin and Harvey to reinstate and upgrade two of its four berths, one of which was closed in January 2017. Berths 7 – 9 are now fully open and able to accommodate more vessels, reducing congestion on the River Mersey and offering greater flexibility to customers.
Cargo vessel Mia Sophie B, operated for Peel Ports’ customer Lochaline Quartz Sand, was the first vessel to arrive at the dock, which now has an increased load baring capacity and can accommodate cranes and specialist handling equipment such as the Liebherr LHM 180, supporting the transportation of heavier cargo.
Runcorn Docks is undergoing continual upgrades to ensure the latest facilities are available for customers, with plans underway to redevelop the storage areas of the port in the next two to five years. Next month, dredging is scheduled at the docks to allow for the transportation of larger vessels and for cargo to be discharged more efficiently.
Lance Weissenborn, operations director at Peel Ports Liverpool, said: “The arrival of cargo vessel Mia Sophie B marks a significant milestone at Runcorn Docks as it fully reopens for business following 14-months of construction to stabilise and rebuild the dock wall.
“The dock was limited to half its previous width as safety measures were implemented, but the reconstructed berths have now reopened and returned to full capacity.
“The design and construction of the works has followed industry standards and have been subject to detailed review and testing , with the strengthened dock wall enhancing our ability to accommodate vessels with heavier loads.
“These latest works at Runcorn Docks represent our continued investment into Manchester Ship Canal and we will continue to upgrade our facilities to offer our customers the most efficient and cost-effective port solutions.”