Sinkhole at £400m Liverpool 2

Peel Ports has confirmed that a sinkhole has appeared at the berth of Liverpool 2, the £400m deep water container terminal in the Mersey which opened three months ago.

The terminal, one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects, was launched to clients in November by the Government’s trade secretary Liam Fox. The 845m-long quay was built to accommodate the biggest cargo vessels in the world and provide access to Britain’s major import centres in the North.

The project opened a year late, after experiencing setbacks blamed on the weather and engineering issues, alongside a switch in main contractor when Lendlease pulled out in 2013, to be replaced by a joint venture between Bam Nuttall and Van Oord.

According to Peel, Bam Nuttall is now on site investigating the cause of the 10m-wide sinkhole.

A spokesman from Peel Ports said: “Peel Ports can confirm that a cavity has appeared on the berth of Liverpool 2.

“We have secured the affected area and our contractors and their technical experts are conducting a full assessment to understand the root cause. Once this has been completed a programme of remedial works will be developed and deployed.

“Initial investigative work has not identified any other areas of a similar nature.

“Given the length of the Liverpool 2 berth this has not affected the terminal’s operations.”

Five large quayside cranes, each weighing around 1,200 tonnes, sit on top of the quay wall. The superstructures, produced by Chinese company Zhenhua Heavy Industries, are worth more than £100m. Three more 92m-high cranes are due to be installed on the site.

With Liverpool 2’s construction, Peel has previously said it is hoping to increase Liverpool’s share of the UK container market from 8% to 20%, however securing shipping companies to use the port has been slow.

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