Roger Megann, group sales director containers of Peel Ports, said its cluster of ports have remained relevant destinations for direct deepwater services for vessels plying the transatlantic and Canadian trades. But having Asia-Europe direct calls would further entrench their foothold on the global market.
“What we’ve seen over the last 12 months is an increase in feeder connections to the port, interestingly from the Mediterranean into Liverpool, and upgrades in current feeder services to take Far East cargoes to the North Continent,” Megann told Seatrade Maritime News.
“That puts a milestone in the ground that we are seeing a shift for lines to view Northern England as a possible destination, and maybe in two to three years we will be looking at Asia-Europe direct calls, if not sooner,” he said.
Peel Ports owns and operates seven of the UK and Ireland’s ports, including Liverpool port and the new Liverpool2. Liverpool2 is a GBP400m ($520m) project comprising of a new quay wall, a newly dredged 16.5m deepwater berthing pocket, installation of eight ship-to-shore quay cranes and 22 cantilever rail mounted gantry cranes, as well as associated supporting infrastructure.
“For us Peel Ports and in Liverpool, it is about future-proofing,” Megann said. “Our big cranes can handle mid-sized to big container vessels of 13,500-14,000 teu. And although our target market is not those 18,000-20,000 teu mega ships, our new terminal would be capable of handling them if required in our deepwater ports.”
Meanwhile, Peel Ports has garnered support from 125 shippers representing 1.5-1.6m teu of UK trade for its Cargo200 initiative with an aim of cutting freight mileage by 200m miles over the next five years.
The Cargo200 initiative, launched in 2015, saw Peel Ports calling for importers and exporters whose goods begin or end their journey in the north of the UK, to switch current delivery of ocean freight from southeast ports to the centrally located Liverpool port.
Shippers signing up to the move could potentially allow them to save up to GBP400 per container in transportation costs by delivering to the heartland of UK. “Ideally we are looking to get 200 shippers for this inititiative,” Megann said.
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