Ready for anything

As the owner and operator of six UK ports and terminals, the Peel Ports Group today is renowned as one of the largest port groups in the country. Committed to investment that cements its future, the group has developed an increasingly diverse service offering, ensuring it is wholly capable of handling more than tens of millions in tonnes of cargo annually while servicing more than 100 destinations across the world. By mixing flexibility, efficiency and promoting progressive partnerships, Peel Ports continues to provide its customers with state-of-the-art, superior solutions.

“The great thing about Peel Ports and particularly Liverpool is the diversity of portfolio and there are very few ports able to handle every commodity from containers, to cars, to bulks to roro to passengers,” begins David Huck, Ports Director of Peel Ports Group. “In terms of unitised cargos and in terms of bulk we handle dry bulk, liquid bulk, forest product, animal feed, grains, aggregates, so it is a very diverse portfolio. To further broaden our capabilities we are spending £650 million pounds of project investment in the port itself. The driver for this level of investment is our customers, not just the shipping lines but the cargo owners; it is a matter of understanding the shipping lines’ requirements and being innovative in understanding the cargo owners and their requirements for optimal supply chain management. We don’t see ourselves as a typical port, we are integrated into the supply chain; our operations are all about delivering client solutions while also delivering further value to our shareholders. This is something that requires significant investment as the two go hand in hand.”

Indeed at the heart of Peel Ports operations and its incredible success is the Port of Liverpool, a significant asset that is one of the busiest and most diverse ports in the UK; capable of handling more than 30 million tones of cargo per annum, the port has been drastically enhanced over recent years thanks to vast investments in facilities and equipment. A notable example of this is the completion of phase one of the £100 million biomass terminal at the port, which is soon to support the EU’s largest decarbonisation project at Drax Power Station. The terminal will be able to handle three million tonnes of wood pellets per annum as part of the decarbonisation of Drax Power Station, the UK’s single largest generator of renewable power.

When opened, four trains a day will carry wood pellets, a by-product of the commercial forestry and saw-milling industry in the US, from North America to Drax to supply the Selby-based power station with an affordable and sustainable low carbon fuel source. Generating approximately 86 per cent carbon savings in comparison to coal, the use of wood pellets by Drax is a key part of the UK’s efforts to meet its 2020 renewable targets while keeping energy costs down for consumers and businesses. Once the terminal is fully completed in 2016, all wood pellets arriving at the Port of Liverpool will be sent to Drax by rail via custom-made biomass rail wagons.

“With phase one of our new biomass offering completed and phase two due for completion in summer 2016, we will go live next year with the full turnkey solution,” says David, who continues to explain the group’s other developments since it was previously featured in Shipping & Marine magazine in March 2015: “On top of this, we have introduced another 500,000 square feet of warehousing in the Port of Liverpool and have introduced new harbour mobile cranes as well as a number of new mobile hopper units. We are also in the throes of consolidating our automated steel terminal, which we have doubled in size; our new facility will come on stream in January. In addition, we have started the commissioning phase of Liverpool2 and had five ship-to-shore cranes delivered in November 2015; these cranes are the first phase of Liverpool2, while the CRMG cranes get delivered in March, these too will also go through commissioning. Our deep-water service capability will be available from the first quarter of 2016.”

Arriving in November 2015 from Shanghai, the five 92 metre cranes are the first of eight to be installed at the new £300 million Liverpool2 deep-water container terminal. Produced by Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co (ZPMC) as part of a contract worth more than £100 million, the cranes will help enable Liverpool2, as the UK’s largest transatlantic deep-sea port and container terminal, to accommodate the majority of the world’s current container vessels, which reach up to 20,000 TEU. The new terminal has 850m of new quay while the cranes operate at speeds in excess of 30 moves per hour; they will also be able to twin-pick and have outreach of 24 containers up to ten high on deck and safe work loads of up to 85 tonnes. The cranes will also be able to operate in wind speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.

By combining infrastructure with technology, Peel Ports will reduce the time it takes to transfer containers from port to road or rail and thus help the Port of Liverpool reach its targets of 65 per cent of haulage turned around in 30 minutes and 95 per cent of haulage turned in around 60 minutes.

With BG Freight announcing a new schedule that will increase the frequency of its services in the Irish Sea routes in response to the creation of Liverpool2 and customer demand, Peel Ports is certain to be busy as customers tap into the benefits of deep sea vessels calling at the terminal via an integrated approach to short sea shipping and cargo handling.

Although the future looks positive for the highly successful group, Peel Ports will maintain its leading reputation by continuing to evolve and innovate in response to market trends and the needs of its customers. “Our business is about pushing boundaries, being more innovative and responding to the requirements of customers. Throughout 2016 we will ensure all of the investments that we have put into place this year are turnkey enabled and deliver the performance that our customers require,” he concludes.

Peel Ports

One of the UK’s largest port groups

Record numbers of business in 2015

£650 million worth of live investment projects