Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Historic Container Line Looks to the Future with New Box and RoRo Handling Agreement

Shipping Company Trusts its UK - North American Future Trade to North West Port
Shipping News Feature

UK – NORTH AMERICA – In a move the company describes as a sign of confidence in both the growing volume of transatlantic trade between the UK and North America, and the capabilities of the Port of Liverpool, Atlantic Container Line (ACL), a Grimaldi Group Company, has agreed a new 15-year contract extension for container and RoRo operations at the port until 2035.

ACL is already the largest ocean carrier operating at Liverpool’s Royal Seaforth Container Terminal (RSCT) and the port’s longest serving container carrier. Operator the Peel Ports Group is making a significant investment at RSCT to accommodate ACL’s new fleet of G4 vessels, which are registered in the UK and fly the Red Ensign. The passage entrance into the Seaforth Basin has been widened by 28 metres to allow safe access for the large G4 vessels into the terminal.

In addition, Peel Ports is investing in two Ship-to-Shore (STS) cranes with increased height and reach, adding capacity to the dedicated vehicle storage area to handle ACL’s growing cargo requirements. The overall project expected to be completed during 2021 and is targeting any upswing in ACL’s current trade which sees 125,000 units of containers, cars and RoRo machinery per annum handled by the company. Mark Whitworth, Chief Executive of Peel Ports, said:

“This is a huge vote of confidence in us as a port and a company, and we’re delighted to be continuing our commercial partnership with ACL into the longer term. Liverpool’s strategic position makes it a prime gateway for transatlantic trade and will continue to be instrumental as confidence in North American trade grows. The investment we’ll be making in the new STS cranes will help other customers as well as ACL.”

ACL ships call at Liverpool twice each week, the company’s fastest import and export transatlantic service. Liverpool connects ACL’s customers in the British industrial heartland, Scotland and Ireland with North America. The pair say this unique long-term relationship between ACL’s Terminal Operations and the Peel Ports operations team provides customers with cutting-edge technologies and improved cargo efficiency for all that container, RoRo and break bulk cargo.

Atlantic Container Line’s vessels have called at the Port of Liverpool since 1967, whilst ACL holds a major place in British maritime history and was Europe’s first dedicated container line. Cunard Line of Liverpool was one of ACL’s original shareholders. Many will remember May 1982 when the ACL vessel Atlantic Conveyor was sunk after being struck by two Exocet missiles while operating with the Royal Navy during the Falklands War.

On that grey day twelve crewmen, including Captain Ian North, tragically lost their lives. A permanent memorial commemorates these men at Liverpool Parish Church. In October 2016, ACL’s first new G4 vessel, the Atlantic Sea, was christened by HRH The Princess Royal. Only a few days later, ACL opened its new office on Duke Street, the first office built by a shipping company in the City since 1924. Gianluca Grimaldi, President of the Grimaldi Group commented:

“It gives me great pleasure to make this extended Agreement with the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. This agreement signifies the long-standing partnership with our daughter company, ACL. The Grimaldi Group applauds the major improvements to Royal Seaforth Terminal and recognises it as a renewed commitment of our strong relationship with the Port of Liverpool, Mersey Maritime, and the customers and suppliers who have been supportive of ACL’s operation for so many years.”

Photo: HRH The Princess Royal boards the Atlantic Sea for the ship's Christening in 2016.