Construction on the Liverpool2 container terminal – a £300m project which will open up the whole of the UK to global trade – has entered a new phase.
More than 320 40m-long steel piles, weighing 47 tonnes each, are now being driven into the bed of the River Mersey to form one of the highest quay walls in Europe, at 30 metres.
Liverpool2 will open up the whole of the UK to trade from Asia, the Middle East and the Americas after the upgrading of the Panama Canal in 2015, providing a lower-cost, greener alternative to traditional southern English ports.
The project will transform the face of logistics in the UK and Ireland.
The piling works will provide a new 854m quay wall, at which two post Panamax container ships of up to 13,500 TEU will be able to dock. The ships, which will come from Asia, the Middle East and the Americas, will serve a population of 35 million people living within a radius of 150 miles.
Douglas Coleman, Programme Director, Peel Ports, said: “The scale of the works which are now underway highlight the speed with which the Liverpool2 development is progressing.
“We are working to create a port which will offer a real alternative for deep sea ships, which will be able to call at a world-class port in the centre of the UK from 2015.”
Feeder services from Liverpool to Ireland and Scotland already make the port attractive to international shippers.
Last month it was announced that a joint venture of BAM Nuttall (Surrey, UK) and Van Oord (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) has been awarded a £75 million contract by Peel Ports, the owner of Liverpool2, to design and build the new quay wall, carry out infill works and install crane rails.
Piling operations have now begun, with more than 19,000 tonnes of steelwork and 30,000 tonnes of concrete required for the construction of the quay wall alone. BAM Nuttall will design and construct the structure and install rails capable of carrying eight ship-to-shore cranes and 27 automated cantilevered rail-mounted gantry cranes.
Specialist rock-drilling equipment is already providing sockets for the 329 tubular steel piles while Goliath, one of the largest backhoe dredgers in the world, is removing 315,000 cubic metres of clay from the River Mersey. Artemis, a cutter suction dredger, will then take 588,000 cubic metres of underlying rock, sand and gravels for reuse in the infill operations behind the quay wall.
The Port of Liverpool carries more than 33m tonnes of cargo annually, and is the UK’s leading west coast port.