Over 300 industry guests gathered at the Port of Liverpool yesterday (Thursday June 6th) to toast the launch of Peel Ports’ landmark deep water container terminal Liverpool2..
Sir Bobby Charlton and ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish pushed the button on the start of dredging and launched a dazzling display of fireworks over the site of the new terminal in the Mersey. The two footballing legends were invited to symbolise the great benefits that Liverpool2 – along with Peel Ports’ investments in port hubs along the Manchester Ship Canal – will bring to both the cities of Liverpool and Manchester.
Kenny Dalglish said, “Bobby and myself are both very proud of our adopted cities so the business and employment this will bring to the region is fantastic. Peel Ports, Liverpool2 and everyone connected deserve a lot of credit. I’m sure the venture is going to be a big success.”
Sir Bobby Charlton added: “I used to have to travel from Old Trafford to Salford for training and stopped many times to let ships from all over the world go by as they hung over the wall that was next to the road. Things have come a long way and this now is a really fantastic development. I’ve been in the area for 60 years but this is my first visit to the docks here. It’s great for the area to have something like this – John (Whittaker) and all involved should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Guests toasted the new terminal from a riverside marquee under blazing blue skies and warm sunshine. They were later treated an afternoon of entertainment and hospitality with music courtesy of international string quartet ‘Bond’ and Heather Small from Manchester band ‘M People’.
Liverpool2 will see post-Panamax vessels of up to 13,500 TEU to call directly at the Port of Liverpool when it opens in 2015 – the same year the widening of the Panama Canal is due to be completed. The deep water terminal will attract some of the world’s largest container vessels to a centrally-located UK distribution hub and a population of 35 million consumers within a radius of 150 miles. Peel Ports’ £300 million investment will enable container ships from around the world to connect directly with the northern half of the UK and Ireland, and so serve a market estimated at around 4 million TEUs a year.
Mark Whitworth, Group Chief Executive of Peel Ports, believes that the investment will make an already strong commercial proposition “more compelling than ever”. He said: “The Port of Liverpool has already seen increased interest from shipping lines and cargo owners. Over the last 18 months APL, Evergreen and Zim have started to offer weekly feeder connections into Liverpool, whilst MSC and CMA have continued to grow their long-standing feeder volumes through the port. Liverpool2 sends a fantastic message to shippers and the wider international trade world – namely, that Liverpool is investing heavily to secure their business now and in the future.”
Mersey Managing Director Gary Hodgson echoed Mark Whitworth’s views and added: “This is the culmination of several years’ hard work, developing the business plan, securing finance and procuring the delivery of the key elements of the scheme. Whether we are talking about developing our role as the hub for the Irish Sea or grabbing the attention of ship operators and traders across the globe, our investment in Liverpool2 will make a huge difference to our commercial offer. This is private sector investment in the nation’s infrastructure, making the UK even more competitive, internationally.”
Of the £300 million overall construction cost for Liverpool2 £150 million has been funded with a twenty-year European Investment Bank (EIB) loan. Jonathan Taylor, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, and amongst the guests at the launch celebration, said that the Luxembourg-based organisation is committed to supporting infrastructure investment.
He said: “Liverpool2 will enhance operations of the Port of Liverpool, one of Europe’s leading ports, and enable access by the next generation of larger ships. “Expansion of the Port of Liverpool will not only create significant local employment during construction, but also improve shipping links across the North Atlantic and increase access to global markets for companies across the North West in years to come. The £150 million support provided by the European Investment Bank demonstrates our strong confidence in the project and reflects our broader commitment to provide long-term funding for transport infrastructure across the UK.”
The new terminal is being constructed on reclaimed land in the Mersey, known as the ‘Seaforth Triangle’. Dredging operations will form a 16.5 metre berthing pocket creating the necessary deep water to allow some of the world’s largest container vessels to use the new terminal.
Project Director Doug Coleman said: “The last few months have seen an intense amount of planning and preparatory work completed on the scheme’s detailed design. It is intensely pleasing that we remain on programme and there is a real sense of satisfaction that we are now in the construction phase of Liverpool2.”
The construction programme will include:
* A new 854 metre-long quay wall with some 30,000 cubic metres of concrete required for the capping beam.
* 15,000m of steel piles weighing in at around 20,000 tonnes.
* Approximately three million cubic metres of infill will be needed to create the planned new container area which will require 230,000 square metres of new surfacing, 6,100m of new crane rails and 3,500 metres of new roads.
The project will require eight ship to shore cranes and 27 rail mounted gantry cranes, and around 2,500m of new fencing will be needed as work gets underway.