Planning permission has been granted for the second phase of Peel Ports' Liverpool Intermodal Freeport Terminal, clearing the way for 400,000 sq ft of additional warehousing.
The extra space will take the total warehousing capacity at the Port of Liverpool to 4m sq ft. Peel submitted the detailed planning application to Sefton council late last year after letting all 600,000 sq ft of the first stage of LIFT.
Construction of the second phase is expected to get under way later this year with the whole development completed in 2009. The project will consist of high bay, steel portal framed distribution units ranging from 70,000 sq ft to more than 200,000 sq ft served by sea, rail, road and inland barge.
Two of the units will be directly linked by rail, taking advantage of the planned hike in the Port of Liverpool's rail traffic capacity when work to enhance the links between the docks and the national rail network is completed in December.
Liverpool now handles an average of 15 trains a day at its five railheads, moving containers, steel, coal, forest products and scrap metal for recycling. Under the Government's Transport Innovation Fund, an abandoned stretch of track known as the Olive Mount Cord, will reduce the transit time for maritime traffic by avoiding the need for trains to shunt across Liverpool's busy Edge Hill junction and will enhance rail capacity.
Frank Robotham, Peel Ports' marketing director, said: "[This expansion] reflects the demand from logistics companies to be part of a port community that offers a strategic location which maximises efficiency and minimises distribution costs.
"Completion of the LIFT project is just one element in the long term expansion plan for the Port of Liverpool as the North and North West of England's natural, cost effective gateway to world sea routes."
RH Group, Christian Salvesen and Stanton Grove are among the occupiers in the development's first phase.
"This expansion anticipates an acceleration of demand for logistics platforms adjacent to the Post Panamax Terminal we plan to put into operation during 2011," said Robotham.
"Every tonne of cargo handled through Liverpool reduces road haul miles across Britain's congested roads and makes its own contribution to securing a greener environment. It also gives the great swathe of Northern England international access without dependency on south coast ports."