The U.K.’s Liverpool2 container terminal was officially opened on Friday.
The £400 million ($500 million) investment by Peel Ports, one of the U.K.’s biggest port operators, will provide a state-of-the-art ocean gateway for U.K. importers and exporters with road, rail and canal connections linking directly to the heart of the U.K. mainland, accessing a catchment of over 35 million people, almost 58 percent of the U.K.’s population.
The new deep water facility will complement the existing Royal Seaforth Container Terminal at the existing Port of Liverpool, with each terminal having capacity to handle around one million containers per annum. The Port is already the country’s biggest transatlantic port (45 percent market share) and the only major container port in the north or west of the U.K.
Liverpool2, which is one of the U.K.’s largest private sector infrastructure projects, was developed in response to changing trading patterns and shipping industry trends towards the use of mega container ships. Liverpool2 will now be able to handle the biggest cargo vessels in the world.
“Liverpool 2 will create a new trading gateway in the U.K.,” said Mark Whitworth, CEO of Peel Ports. “We are already exploring and succeeding in creating new opportunities for UK exporters, having recently signed a significant Memorandum of Understanding to create a strategic alliance aimed at facilitating international trade and generating new business by promoting trade routes between Liverpool and the west coast of South America via the Panama Canal.”
Liverpool currently has around eight percent of the container market in the U.K. This figure would be expected to rise to between 15 and 20 percent.
The terminal construction has seen a site of around 16 hectares reclaimed from the sea. There is a new 854 meter quay wall and land created from 5.5 million tons 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 (CRMGs). Ultimately there will be another three STS cranes and 10 CRMGs.
35 million people in the U.K. and Ireland live closer to Liverpool than the traditional container ports in the South of England. 58 percent of the U.K.’s population is closer to Liverpool than its competitor ports in the south.
A 112 kilometer (70 mile) radius around Liverpool has the largest volume and density of large warehousing of any U.K. region. More than 28 percent of the U.K.’s large warehousing is located in there.