Peel Ports has welcomed a new weekly feeder service that will see the Port of Liverpool included in X-Press Container Line's UK and Ireland network.
The new service will offer importers and exporters from northern Britain additional connections to deep sea vessels from around the globe.
The service will be incorporated into the existing SIX service at the Suffolk-based shipping line company, with sailings every Tuesday from Southampton, arriving in Liverpool on Thursday. The vessel will then continue to Greenock on Fridays and Belfast on Saturdays.
The first call on this new service is the MV India, which sailed from Southampton on 24 May and will arrive at Liverpool on Thursday 26 May.
Paul-James Sawyer, X-Press Container Line's UK and Ireland trade manager, said: "The inclusion of Liverpool into our network is an exciting development which will help ensure that reliable and viable solutions can be offered to all of our customers servicing the north and North West areas. Furthermore this expansion continues to prove our commitment to the West Coast UK and Ireland trade lanes."
The new service will carry cargo on behalf of a number of deep-sea lines that currently operate global services through Southampton.
Stephen Carr, head of business development at Peel Ports Mersey, said: "We know there is significant demand for additional services into northern Britain via Liverpool, as water competes with road and rail on both cost and carbon measures. We then create additional benefits for supply chains through a wide range of value added services at the port including rapid truck turn-around time, flexible storage solutions and inland terminals connected by the Manchester Ship Canal barge service.
"This service will help to relieve the pressure on both road and rail infrastructure from the south, without compromising on the environmental benefits offered by rail. Liverpool is the most centrally positioned port in the UK, meaning it is ideally situated to serve all cargo bound for northern Britain. Increasing numbers of importers and exporters are starting to look at the full integrated cost of the "ship-to-door" logistics chain and recognise that Liverpool is the closest port to the largest proportion of end consumers."
Peel Ports recently revealed that AB World Foods, a company that includes brands such as Patak's and Blue Dragon, has switched its supply chain so it can use the Port of Liverpool as its UK import gateway for foodstuffs and raw materials from the Far East and India.
Peel Ports claims the modification will eliminate 300,000 UK road miles and remove over 2,000 tones of carbon dioxide a year, when compared to the company's previous supply chain model that saw container cargoes entering the UK through ports on the south coast and then using trucks to transport cargoes to their final destination.
In addition to reducing direct transport related costs, Peel Ports said the move also enables a supply chain that could be more responsive and less exposed to congestion.
Carr added: "This additional feeder services expands the range of connections available to importers and exporters based across Northern Britain and compliments Liverpool's existing weekly feeder services operated by MSC, from Rotterdam and Antwerp and CMA, from Le Havre."