Delays may mean city has missed the boat
NEWS this week that Peel Ports has secured grant funding to deepen the River Mersey, around Seaforth, by dredging, has been greeted with considerable excitement locally.
The £30m Regional Growth Fund grant is an important piece in the jigsaw that should allow Peel’s proposed £200m in-river quayside to proceed. Once complete, the new quayside will be able to handle some of the world’s largest vessels. Known as post-Panamax vessels, these ships will be able to pass through the Panama Canal after it has been widened. The opening up of the canal will re-shape trade flows between East and West.
For many decades, the idea that Liverpool is on the wrong side of the country has been widely accepted as a truism. East coast ports have claimed the lion’s share of trade heading to Rotterdam and other near European ports. When it comes to post-Panamax vessels, however, Liverpool’s location is not so disadvantageous. These massive vessels don’t serve Europe, but instead plough the seas between Britain and the Far East. The announcement that Liverpool was to build a post-Panamax quayside was, for example, big news in Hong Kong.
In this day and age of low carbon targets, long- distance shippers will be interested in Liverpool’s proximity to the final marketplace. The fact Liverpool is in central Britain, close to big centres of population, should stand us in better stead than ports on the south coast.
On the other hand, Peel has been slow off the mark when it comes to competing with their rivals. Had the company stuck to the original construction plan, the new in-river terminal would be open for business by now. It was, however, delayed due to the credit crunch and the downturn in international trade.
While the scheme is now back on track, the delays mean that the Port of Liverpool has missed the boat.
Bristol’s port has permission to build a new £600m deep sea container terminal which, the port owner claims, will bring containers closer to their final destinations than any other super post- Panamax port.
Last month, Felixstowe South opened for business, offering a similar scale, two-berth facility as that proposed for Seaforth. Dredging of the Thames Estuary to allow post-Panamax vessels to dock at the soon to be opened London Gateway began two years ago. When the new DP World quaysides are ready, they will be able to handle more container traffic than the whole of the Port of Liverpool even after its new Seaforth facility is fully utilised.
The Port of Southampton has long been able to handle post-Panamax vessels, and recently expanded its capacity by 50%. Vessels that are already bigger than those that would use Liverpool’s new in-river facility have been docking routinely at Southampton for a couple of years now.
Indeed, Liverpool has just become a feeder port to the Port of Southampton with a regular weekly service that allows global shippers to transfer containers from post- Panamax sized ships docking at Southampton to smaller vessels that then come into the Mersey. If this feeder port status is to be just a temporary phenomenon, it is important that there are no more delays to construction at Seaforth.
One inherent anxiety created by the receipt of a £30m-plus Regional Growth Fund grant has to be the potential it creates for objections to be raised by rival port owners, such as DP World at Southampton, which is already engaged in a fierce war of words over the funding of Liverpool’s cruise liner terminal plan
Read More http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/ldpbusiness/business-local/2011/11/16/delays-may-mean-city-has-missed-the-boat-92534-29783585/
My understanding is that Peel Ports were annoyed at the timing of this news with the Unesco mission in Liverpool and them promising us jobs galore.
Meanwhile more jobs go at the Port of Liverpool
This time its the Fruit and Produce Terminal that Peel own.......42 jobs to go.
http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/ldpbusiness/business-local/2011/11/22/liverpool-produce-terminal-closes-with-loss-of-42-jobs-100252-29816690/ click here for more
Just what is the Isle of Man tax exile John Whittaker, who owns Peel Holdings, doing with our jobs shipping our Port down the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford.
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