Logistics experts in the region have welcomed the appointment of the contractor to build the giant container terminal in the Mersey as one of the most significant economic investments in years.
The long-mooted post Panamax terminal, for the modern class of container ships wider than the Panama Canal, is set to boost freight dramatically through the region when it opens in three years' time.
Howard George, partner at industrial agents B8 Real Estate, said: "The announcement of the appointment of the contractor for the new post-Panamax terminal, Liverpool2, should be one of the most significant investments decisions in the region for many years. This is not just a Liverpool story but a development that should benefit the whole of the North West. The key driver here is that the Port of Liverpool is the major Atlantic port for all areas of the UK north of Leicester and Birmingham. Freight which is currently imported into Southampton and Felixstowe will be both cheaper, quicker and greener to come into Liverpool. In theory this should result in significant development of distribution facilities in and around the Port and along the Manchester Ship Canal as companies reap the benefits.
"The clear benefits must be marketed by the Port to encourage and entice freight companies in the UK who have historically for many years used the Southern UK ports to shift over to Liverpool. The advantages are there and the challenge over the next couple of years will be to spread the word and the positive messages."
Daniel Burn, industrial director at Jones Lang LaSalle, added: "This adds to the good news coming out of Merseyside lately with expansion at Jaguar Land Rover and the commitment of GM to Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port. These and other good news stories are having an impact on the manufacturing supply chain and take-up with more occupiers seeking space in Merseyside.
"We have already seen retailers like Regatta and B&M Bargains move here as a direct result of the Port of Liverpool and the investment Peel Ports is committing and it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years and whether others do the same."