Peel Ports has carried the first non-containerised cargo on its barge service from Liverpool to Manchester on the Manchester Ship Canal.
Until now the Liverpool to Manchester service has carried only an increasing level of containers, but transporting of a giant chemicals tank to the Ineos facility at Runcorn saw the start of non-containerised traffic.
The 30-metre high 20-tonne tank arrived at the Port of Liverpool from Holland on the ACL vessel Atlantic Concert, and made the onward journey on the Ship Canal to Runcorn by barge. The journey from Liverpool to Runcorn took just over three hours.
Stephen Carr, Peel Ports Mersey's head of business development, said: "This is the latest development in our objective to increase usage of the Ship Canal as a logistics hub that drives down cost and CO2 emissions.
"The Port of Liverpool has seen a significant increase in container volumes over the last few months, much of which has continued the journey via our barge service to end-users – driven by supply chains looking for a lower cost solution to serve northern and central Britain.
"Delivery of this project cargo from the Port of Liverpool to Runcorn is a departure in that is the first non-container cargo to use our barge service, and we are keen to expand and further develop that side of the business.
"This further increase in the use of the Ship Canal demonstrates the desire of many companies to use water to get their product as close to their customer as possible."
Andrew Wormald, senior sales and operations manager at Abnormal Load Services, Peel Ports' customer on this project, said: "The sheer size of this cargo made the use of road transport problematic, and the use of Peel's barge service was the perfect solution. It also saved us on costs and carbon emissions for this leg of the journey from Holland."