The Port of Liverpool has opened a £400m container terminal that is set to boost fresh produce trade with the US and South America.
The investment by operator Peel Ports called Liverpool2 will provide an ocean gateway for UK importers and exporters to countries across the Atlantic Ocean.
It is likely to increase trade with the US, Canada and South America, according to Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, who officially opened the new facility on 4 November.
“This new port opens up even more opportunities with new markets and export destinations for UK businesses,” he added.
The new facility, which will complement the existing Royal Seaforth Container Terminal at the port, was developed in response to changing trading patterns and a trend towards the use of extra-large ocean-going container ships.
Liverpool2 will enable the port to welcome the biggest cargo vessels in the world, with the capacity to handle around 1 million containers a year, according to Peel Ports.
It will also provide an ocean gateway for UK importers and exporters to reach a catchment of over 35 million people via direct road, rail and canal connections.
Peel Ports’ CEO Mark Whitworth said: “Today marks the beginning of a new era for the Port of Liverpool. Our investment will help global shippers to transport cargo more efficiently to their end destination with lower costs, congestion and carbon emissions.
“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.
Whitworth added: “Liverpool 2 will create a new trading gateway in the UK. 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.”
The new site currently has five ‘megamax’ ship to shore (STS) transfer cranes and 12 quayside container handling cranes (known as CRMGs), with a further three STS cranes and 10 CRMGs to be added.
Liverpool is already the country’s biggest transatlantic port, with 45 per cent market share. It is also the only major container port in the north or west of the UK.