Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports celebrated the return of shipping line Maersk with a formal welcome reception for its feeder vessel, Antwerp.
The event was attended by representatives of shipping lines Seago and Maersk, along with customers, and was followed by a port tour, including a trip to the top of the 300ft Grain Tower affording views over the whole site.
Operator Seago is the latest carrier to introduce a new service via Liverpool and will provide a new cargo route between Algeciras-Liverpool-Dublin.
The feeder service will further strengthen the £300m development Liverpool2’s Irish Sea Hub offering and establish direct cargo connections to and from the North West of England to Ireland and onwards to the Mediterranean, providing trade links to North and West Africa.
The new service will offer six days transit time between Algeciras and Liverpool, with vessels arriving and departing on Wednesdays.
Patrick Walters, commercial director at Peel Ports, said, “This is a significant step in the transformation taking place at the Port of Liverpool.
“Seago is one of several new services that we have secured already in 2016.
“Along with the progress at Liverpool2, the imminent opening of the Port Salford national import centre, and the backing we’ve received from cargo owners joining our Cargo200 initiative, there is a real sense of momentum about the North West.
“Supply chain providers, and their customers, are all looking for ways to reduce costs, congestion and carbon emissions.
“The interest we’re getting from the industry clearly indicates that they are increasingly looking at Liverpool as the place to be.”
Seago Line general manager for UK & Ireland, Robert Clegg, said: “We are thrilled to offer this new connection to Liverpool and expand our product portfolio for markets in the UK and Ireland.
“With competitive transit times and convenient berthing windows, we are well placed to serve customers who seek new opportunities through this Mediterranean connection.
“Furthermore, our customers located in the Liverpool hinterland can now access South European and North African markets with Seago Line as a complementary addition to our existing offer.”
Brian Godsafe, managing director at Maersk Line, which has its UK & Ireland base in Liverpool’s Plaza Building, added: “This service is a positive addition to our current portfolio. The Irish Sea feeder offers flexibility to customers in the Liverpool area and the wider North West region.”
This is the first time that the Maersk Group Company has used Liverpool for UK cargoes in more than 10 years and will be Maersk Group’s first ever direct connection to the Irish capital.
Earlier this year WEC Lines, which is owned by MSC, introduced a number of new services to the Port of Liverpool, and X-PRESS, the world’s largest independent common carrier of containers, has also launched a new service via the city.
Liverpool2 is to have a phased opening, with marine trials beginning soon and other elements of the semi-automated terminal coming online throughout the second quarter of 2016.
The first phase of the new terminal will be fully operational in the autumn.
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