UK Chancellor earmarks £35 million for Mersey Dredging Project

  • Dredging scheme key part of £300 million Liverpool2 container terminal project

UK Chancellor George Osborne has announced a £35 million grant from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund towards the dredging of the approach channel in the Mersey Estuary.

The dredging of the channel to a depth of 16 metres will allow the safe transit of post-Panamax vessels and is a key part of the £300 million Liverpool2 container terminal project.

The Chancellor made the announcement during a visit to the Port of Liverpool where he met representatives from businesses in the region who stand to benefit from the dredging project, as well as apprentices who are training for jobs in the local maritime industry.

“This project is good news for Merseyside and the North West, but also important to the UK as a whole,” said Osborne.

As well as creating 5,000 jobs, upgrading Merseyside’s maritime infrastructure demonstrates that this country is open for business, and ready to compete in the global race.”

The grant has been awarded to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company as a contribution towards the cost of dredging the Mersey Estuary at Seaforth, which will also widen the tidal access window for a range of other river users.

“This is exactly the kind of public sector investment the country needs because it will drive growth in the UK’s private sector by improving infrastructure,” added Mark Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports Group – parent company of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

“The grant will critically support the region’s maritime economy, and it will help Peel Ports expand the Port of Liverpool with our new £300 million container terminal Liverpool2.”

The Chancellor also announced the start of the terminal’s construction, and that the new 600,000 TEU capacity facility will be open for business in 2015.

The maritime sector in the Liverpool City region employs 28,000 people across 1,700 businesses and contributes £2.6 billion to its annual economic output – 15 percent of the total economic output for the region.

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