Monday, August 11, 2014

Deep Water Container Shipping Port Sees £100 Million Sino UK Port Deal Signed

Liverpool 2 a Step Closer With Huge Crane Order
Shipping News Feature

UK – CHINA – The Liverpool2 project, the new deep water port designed to accommodate the bulk of new generation container shipping being launched globally, has taken another stride forward with the signing of a contract between developers the Peel Ports Group and Chinese engineering giants Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. (ZPMC), for the supply of eight ship-to-shore (STS) megamax quay cranes and 22 cantilever rail-mounted gantry cranes (CRMGs).

At a formal ceremony in Shanghai Peel Ports Chief Executive Mark Whitworth signed the £100 million deal whilst touring ZPMC’s engineering facilities at Changxing and Nantong as part of a two-day visit to China. The fleet of STS and CRMG cranes will be supported by state-of-the-art quayside facilities, best in class port and logistics solutions, including a fully integrated Navis N4 terminal operating system, autogates and ABB equipment controls.

Tradition loomed large over the proceedings, Liverpool is a twin city with Shanghai and is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe dating back to 1834 when the first vessel, direct from China, arrived in Liverpool's docks to trade such goods as silk, cotton and tea, a trade which, in amended form, continues to this day. Liverpool2 is designed to reroute traffic which currently incurs lengthy road haulage and rail journeys with goods arriving in ports such as Southampton and Felixstowe.

On a recent visit to the Port of Liverpool, UK Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the Liverpool2 investment as a means of offering businesses a way to move their goods to market faster and more efficiently to the north of the UK, bypassing more southerly ports and commenting on the large percentage of northern destined freight currently routed that way.

The ZPMC equipment will enable the port to handle two 380m vessels simultaneously with an anticipated 1,500 moves in each tidal window. With semi-automated remote-controlled operation, the cranes will reduce the time taken to transfer containers from port to road or rail, which means a target of 65% of haulage turned round in 30 minutes and 95% of haulage turned in 60 minutes. They will also have the ability to operate at speeds in excess of 30mph and wind speeds of up to 55mph (88kmph). Mr Whitworth said:

“China has a long history of trading with the UK and Liverpool2, located at the heart of Great Britain, will offer a more direct trading route for cargo coming from China to reach over 65% of the UK population who live within 240 km of Liverpool. As one of the most operationally efficient terminals in Northern Europe, Liverpool2 will be the quickest and most cost-effective route to market, not just for goods destined for England but also for Scotland, Ireland, North Wales, opening up a new market estimated at four million TEU every year and increasing potential trade between our countries.

“It is a great pleasure to be here in Shanghai to sign this important agreement with ZPMC because it is a significant part of the transformation of the Port of Liverpool and the changes that we are making there. ZPMC are doing much more than supplying cranes. They are helping us to deliver a project aimed at changing logistics flows in the UK, where the Port of Liverpool is currently the third largest container port and strategically important to trade with China.

“Liverpool2 has a considerable advantage over its competitors as it has 10 motorways located within 16 km and is uniquely connected to the Manchester Ship Canal which stretches 44 km from the Port of Liverpool to Manchester, connecting deep sea cargo with the inland container hubs. Logistically cargo can be moved much more fuel and carbon efficiently. Very few other terminal operators in the UK have such connectivity, and these combined services offer some of the best value door-to-door shipping costs that cargo owners will find.”

Liverpool2 is intended as the centrepiece in a much larger project called Atlantic Gateway, which is a project to develop the area between the cities of Manchester and Liverpool. The development will be backed by $85 billion (£50 billion) of investment over 50 years, making it one of the most expensive and expansive development projects in UK history. Its design was also significantly inspired by the Shanghai waterfront.

It is claimed the new deal will create up to 500 jobs and an interesting footnote is that ZPMC, having already had a successful time recently in the UK with recent installations at both Felixstowe and DP World’s London Gateway development, the Chinese group has chosen to site its new service centre in Liverpool timed to coincide with the delivery of the new cranes in 2015.

Photo: British PM David Cameron viewing the Liverpool 2 development.