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Published: 12 September 2017      

Liverpool rail container service

Peel Ports is set to launch a new rail container service for its customers using the Port of Liverpool

No details of the rail service provider or shippers Peel Ports is talking to have been provided, but the company says it is aiming to run the first services before the end of this time. Liverpool is part of the Freightliner intermodal network, but Peel Ports appears to be aiming at BCOs rather than carriers.

It is not clear whether Peel Ports is planning to offer on-dock rail or integrate shorthaul trucking to a railhead. Also, it is unclear whether this will be a Peel Ports "company train," with Peel Ports assuming the commercial risk and selling the slots. These lacunae may be filled in coming weeks. 

The company does say that this "will be the first time that it has offered an integrated package, giving shippers a seamless route to market, from quayside to any UK destination served by major rail lines, or vice versa."

As yet no deepsea carriers are calling Liverpool2.

Peel Ports is also backing calls from Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram for significant investment in the Victorian-era rail infrastructure serving the east-west corridor.

Gary Hodgson, Strategic Projects Director, said: “We have long prided ourselves on being more than just a network of ports providing excellent access to markets around the Irish Sea and close to the heart of the UK. This is the next step in our journey to provide shippers with a more integrated, end-to-end answer for their cargo needs. It’s also an important milestone in our evolution as a company and underlines how serious we are about being a genuine partner in the supply chain community.”

“There are generally good connections on routes heading north and south, but cross-country is a real problem. It’s long overdue that the east-west infrastructure was brought into the 21st century so we can expand rail freight usage and reduce the impact of longer-distance road haulage.”

Jerome Wildsmith, Head of Supply Chain at retailer B&M, added: “Good value is at the heart of our consumer offering so a flexible and lean operation is critical to our business model. Routing through the Port of Liverpool has already saved us the equivalent of 4M road miles, massively cutting our onward transport costs, reducing the carbon emitted and reducing the likelihood of delays on the UK network.

"We are excited about the possibilities that this new service will provide our business for achieving even more efficiency gains for our growing operation.”

The available train path capacity directly to and from the Port of Liverpool is currently amongst the highest of all major ports within the UK, providing expansion options for importers and exporters that also minimise cost, congestion and carbon emissions.

Liverpool is already used to supply biomass to the Drax power station in North Yorkshire via the trans-Pennine route. The port is also within 25 miles of the WCML and the port has W10 gauge clearance capability, allowing 9ft 6in containers to be conveyed on standard deck height rail wagons.


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