Northern water freight services on the rise


A canal-based freight container service between Liverpool and Manchester has seen traffic grow by five-fold, from 3,000 teu in 2009 to an expected 15,000 by the end of this year.

Management at Peel Ports, which operates the route between Liverpool and Manchester, say the increase in the barge freight container service has been supported by the increasing demand for more environmentally friendly and cost-effective solutions.

Peel Ports has recently boosted capability on the route via the introduction of a new coaster vessel, the Marina, and a new 40-tonne harbour mobile crane at the Irlam container terminal outside of Manchester.

Stephen Carr, Head of Business Development for Peel Ports Mersey, said,

“The spectacular growth in demand for the barge service over the last two years has enabled us to invest in this next level of capability.

“Whilst the existing barge has served us well, the capability and flexibility offered by the new vessel and crane will enable us to better meet the growing demands of retailers, FMCG and industrial goods manufacturers and shipping lines alike.

“Over the last year, we have already invested in upgrading the terminal to ISPS security standards and the terminal operating system that is linked to Liverpool via the MCP Destin8 community system allowing containers to be routed directly to Manchester using the GBIRL code.”

Peel Ports revealed the company’s intention to invest in infrastructure in its draft Mersey Ports Master Plan publication last year. The intention to invest in infrastructure will attract a much larger share of the UK’s container traffic through the Port of Liverpool than is currently the case. This in addition to also developing distribution centres along the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal.

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