Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Rail Freight Customer for Intermodal Terminal

Mystery Surrounds Developers Client
Shipping News Feature

UK - Good news this week for the Mersey Multimodal Gateway (3MG) freight park being developed jointly by Halton Borough Council, Stobart Rail and Prologis on a Brownfield site at Widnes in Cheshire. A mystery client has contracted for a new rail connected 110,000 square metre warehouse and office development to be constructed adjacent to 3MG on the formerly agricultural site North of Halebank Road, by Prologis at a reported cost in excess of £45 million. Secrecy surrounds the identity of the developer whose name is apparently protected by confidentiality agreements for commercial reasons.

The 3MG site was formerly known as Ditton Strategic Rail Freight Park and the intention has always been to make it the multimodal exchange point to transfer cargo heading up from Southern ports and to act as the principal rail hub for freight in the region. The site was originally proposed in 2004 and much of the land cleared of large quantities of soil contaminated by decades of industrial use some three years later.

The developers believe that the strategic location of 3MG has the capacity to remove almost 200 million kilometres of truck journeys from Britain’s roads annually and the scheme has received widespread support from the country’s rail and green lobby groups. This latest proposed development is estimated by some observers to be capable of providing as many as 1,500 jobs.

Plans indicate the new warehouse will have space for over one hundred bay doors and will be separated into three individual handling areas and the development is scheduled for completion by Christmas next year. Infrastructure improvements are to include new roads and the site is situated on the West Coast Main line and the developers will have to make arrangements to deal with the protected species known to inhabit the site.