Peel Port's barge shuttle service carrying goods up the Manchester Ship Canal from the Port of Liverpool to Irlam Container Terminal is now making a regular call at Ellesmere Port.
The first barge to do so discharged an initial 50 containers of organic molasses shipped into Liverpool's Royal Seaforth Container Terminal by Mediterranean Shipping Company from Paraguay, before sailing on up the canal with boxes of Tesco wines bound for Manchester.
The molasses is being shipped into the UK by the Organic Division of Uren Food Group, for distribution as livestock feed to organically certified farms.
James Uren, who founded the organic division of the family business 13 years ago, said: "The waterborne onward movement of the containers from the Port of Liverpool to Ellesmere Port fits well with the ethos of our organic activities and provides the most economic and environment friendly method of inland transportation."
The dawn discharge of the containers at Ellesmere Port was undertaken by Quality Freight (UK) using a new £1m Liebherr harbour crane. An hour later, the barge sailed for its next delivery stop at Irlam Container Terminal on the Ship Canal.
Sebastian Gardiner, managing director of Quality Freight (UK), said: "It was a text book discharge operation which we now expect to repeat on a regular basis for containers carrying not just molasses, but other cargoes bound for the North of England. Quality Freight is working with Peel Ports to grow the volume of freight moved by barge and reduce the road miles and carbon footprint of the logistics industry."
The liquid molasses is moved from Ellesmere Port to the Shropshire processing plant of Prime Molasses for distribution to farms and animal feed manufacturers across the country.
Frank Robotham, marketing director of Peel Ports Group which owns the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal, commented: "Adding a regular call at Ellesmere Port to the shuttle's sailing schedule increases the flexibility of the service to shippers seeking a cost effective and environmentally sensitive means of moving their cargoes in and out of the North West of England.