Friday, June 10, 2011

Manchester Port Freight Shipping Scheme Details Revealed

Salford to be Inland Port Again - Literally
Shipping News Feature

UK – Following on from last weeks report on the plan to build an ‘inland port’ at Doncaster, Peel Ports - Britain’s second largest port operator - has given details on its plans to revive Greater Manchester as a true port in its own right with their ambitious Port of Salford scheme, which will also see the return of the historic and iconic Manchester Ship Canal to its original purpose.

The Mersey Ports Master Plan is scheduled to be implemented over twenty years and will see £1 billion ($1.64 billion) spent creating a new deepwater dock at the Port of Liverpool and six new freight terminals built on the canal, which stretches for 36-miles inland from the coast to the heart of the North-West.

The canal, which was completed in 1894, had reached it’s heyday between 1952-and-74 when over sixteen million tonnes of freight and 5,000 ships per annum used it. However with containerisation the canal started to decline until, in 1982, its end terminal at Salford and Pomona docks were closed and subsequently redeveloped.

The growth in interest in multimodal freight methods to reduce pressure on roads, a particular concern in the English North-West, has seen a slight revival in recent years with around 8,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent) of shipping containers being transported along the canal in 2010. With the new plans Peel Ports hopes to increase this total to more than 100,000 TEU by 2030, with the subsequent creation of around 3,000 jobs in the Greater Manchester area and another 4,500 in Liverpool and at the other locations along the new route.

The proposed Port of Salford, for which initial construction is to start in August, will be a multimodal freight terminal in Eccles, a location that puts it within seventy miles of 12 million people. The site will comprise of around 1.1m sq. feet (102,190 sq m) of rail served high-bay warehousing and a container terminal with 20 acres of hard-standing.

The development will double the capacity of existing multi-modal terminals in Greater Manchester and allow double the number of container trains that currently serve the two terminals at Trafford Park, as well as the ability to handle two 500–TEU container ships simultaneously.

The facility will also be able to handle over 200,000 pallets of cargo at any one time in rail linked distribution buildings. Once operational it will be the only active inland water served distribution park in the UK. The location is also only a mile from the UK’s motorway network, as well as close to Manchester and Liverpool’s John Lennon Airports, allowing links to international air cargo services.

Talking of Peel Port’s plans, Mersey Ports MD Gary Hodgson said that:

“This is a great opportunity to link our water, road and rail networks. The Master Plan will generate 7,500 jobs, not including haulage and other related industries, and will generate a significant improvement in the region's economic wealth.”