300 years ago, Liverpool was at the forefront of international shipping and trade, with the creation of the world’s first enclosed commercial wet dock. The city remained one of the world’s leading ports well into the 20th century, but the advent of containerisation and new market conditions meant it was overtaken by some of its competitors.
Now, Peel Ports – port authority and operator of the Port of Liverpool – is gearing up for the opening of its new US$463m container terminal, Liverpool2. The development will make maximum use of technology and automation to more than double the port’s TEU capacity on a site much smaller than the current terminal. Combined with Peel Ports’ other logistical assets, including the Manchester Ship Canal and the national import centre at Port Salford, Liverpool2 will open up a new central gateway for UK trade.
With ever-increasing vessel sizes we realised that unless we took action by 2015, 85% of the global container vessel fleet would not fit into the Port of Liverpool as the existing Royal Seaforth Terminal is accessed through a lock with a vessel capacity of 294 metres (length) x 32 metres (beam) x 11.6 metres (depth) and a channel dredge of 6.9 metres.
We therefore had to think beyond the traditional port boundary, identifying an intertidal site that could be reclaimed. This, however, would only facilitate a total terminal area of 17 hectares in phase one, much smaller than the existing terminal, and construction would have to support a 10 metre tidal range, one of the largest in the UK. We also understood…