The move is further evidence that the facility at the port of Liverpool will be built, unlike some of the ambitious expansion plans announced by other, smaller UK ports during the past five years.
The landmark terminal the River Mersey will avoid the vessel-size restrictions of the current container terminal, located within a closed dock system accessed by locks, and will attract some of the world’s largest containerships when it opens in 2015.
Peel Ports Mersey MD Gary Hodgson said the facility would bring “thousands of jobs and economic prosperity to the Merseyside region along with the rest of the North West”.
He added: “The Liverpool2 brand will become known throughout the world as our new container terminal brings customers from all points of the compass.
“By any standard, it is a significant development and a major investment. By naming the principal contractor today, we have further emphasised our commitment to the building of Liverpool2.”
The new terminal will be able to accommodate two vessels of up to 13,500teu, which is significantly larger than the typical vessel of 3,500teu berthing at Royal Seaforth terminal today.
According to Peel Ports’ research, it will remove over 150 million miles of transport from the UK’s motorway and rail freight networks, reducing congestion, improving the carbon footprint of international supply chains and delaying the requirement for public expenditure on future transport network capacity.
The construction programme of Liverpool2 comprises a new 854 metre quay wall, the in-filling of the newly created land-mass, the dredging of a new 16.5 metre deep berthing pocket adjacent to the quay wall, the installation of ship-to-shore quay cranes and modern cantilever rail mounted gantry cranes and associated supporting infrastructure.
The quay wall contractor will be named in the near future, and further packages of work will be advertised, including design and consultancy services.
Last year Liverpool’s container traffic increased by 2.2%, up to 662,000teu, which was split equally between shortsea coastal traffic, deepsea cargo and transhipment business.