By Richard Hepworth, President, Trelleborg’s marine systems operation
The opening of the new Liverpool2 deep sea container terminal this month seems like a piece of good news for our industry, and one that might give UK shipping a boost. This £400million investment project not only doubles the container capacity now available to shipping lines at Liverpool, but for the first time opens up the north of England to mega-carriers by providing the UK’s only deep sea container terminal north of Felixstowe.
This is a good thing. Across the world, ageing port infrastructure requires investment to upgrade facilities so they can take advantage of developments such as new smart technology and improvements in material capability. Whilst Drewry reports that the industry is expected to lose $5billion this year, so investment and evolution like this is exciting to see.
It’s encouraging to see Peel Ports investing for the future. The consolidation we’ve seen over the last few years between shipping lines has seen powerful alliances emerge and there’s no doubt they are flexing their muscles and putting pressure on ports and terminals to improve the physical facilities they offer.
Alongside these sizeable alliances, another factor driving competition between ports is of course the size of the containerships themselves. Accommodating these mega-carriers creates a real and immediate need to expand infrastructure, and is now a commercial necessity if ports are to secure future contracts with shipping lines and alliances.
Liverpool2 has recognized this and risen to the challenge, opening up new opportunities for shipping in the UK. It’s positive news for our industry and let’s hope that mega-containerships are soon spotted travelling up and down the River Mersey.