Peel Ports in talks over Liverpool/India shipping service

Michael Hunt

Peel Ports of the Port of Liverpool is in discussions with a number of lines to create a direct shipping service to the west coast of India opening up a new potentially lucrative UK trade route to South Asia.

With around 60% of current trade from India to the UK ultimately being delivered to within a 150-mile radius of Liverpool, management at the Merseyside port believe the new routes would increase efficiency and reduce costs for users.

Ken Hayes, UK business development manager for Peel Ports, said: "All cargo originating from India gets shipped to various ports such as Felixstowe, Southampton and Dublin and is then redirected to its final destination, with an estimated 60% of this trade finding its way to within 150 miles of Liverpool.

"If the cargo is brought directly to Liverpool it will bring about a saving of around £300 per container by way of handling, advantage of higher port efficiency and onward transport cost. And then there are clear environmental benefits.

"We have received frequent demands from the trade for launching this direct sailing to Liverpool from India and have decided to enter detailed discussions which are now at an advanced stage with a number of lines."

The latest talks were held when senior management from the Port of Liverpool visited Mumbai to attend a trade conference earlier this month and have since received commitment in excess of 45,000 teus per annum to the prospective service.

Latest figures from the Government's economics and statistics directorate shows that the total value of bilateral trade between the UK and India was £8.7bn during 2006.

Ravi Gandhi, the Port of Liverpool's representative in India, said: "Having been established in the shipping industry for decades, we share the view with many of our colleagues from within the Indian freight-forwarding community that a direct service between India and Liverpool would bring a large number of tangible benefits to respective ports and countries.

"The reduction in costs would not only provide a one-time saving but would also lead to more repeat business which would represent a real win-win situation for all."

Management at the Port Of Liverpool have already received a commitment from within the industry which they believe justifies the establishment of a first line.

The Port of Liverpool is regarded as one of the busiest ports in the UK. It is a gateway to trade from North America and more than 100 other non-EU destinations. Now management are keen to open up new trade routes with a view to further developing business benefits.

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