Scotland’s food and drink, chemical and manufacturing industries are set for a boost thanks to a new shipping service that will link Greenock with deep-water ports in Liverpool and Rotterdam.
The route, which will also take in Belfast, is expected to prove a boon to businesses in the west of Scotland, by cutting the cost of exports to the rest of the UK, Europe and North America.
Drinks giant Diageo – maker of Johnnie Walker and Guinness – is one of the first companies to commit to the service, which has been created by BG Freight Line as an extension of its Irish Sea hub network.
The Port of Liverpool currently handles 45 per cent of Britain’s total transatlantic trade, so the new route will give Scottish firms direct access to the main trade hub with North America.
Later this year, Peel Ports will launch a deep water container terminal called Liverpool2, which will double capacity at the site and allow it to handle some of the largest container ships in the world.
In two years’ time, the new shipping service is expected to increase the number of containers handled at Greenock Ocean Terminal by 16 per cent.
Koert Luitwieler, chief executive of BG Freight line and shipping director at Peel, said: “The combination of our port network, our existing feeder services, and this new route allows us to provide international traders with a way to minimise costs, carbon emissions and congestion.
“As well as helping to meet increasing demand now, the extra option we can now offer importers and exporters will complement the Liverpool2 container terminal that will open in December this year.”
Richard Muir, deputy chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, added: “Establishing the first scheduled short-sea shipping service from Greenock to Liverpool will allow Scottish businesses to connect with existing transatlantic deep sea services and new global shipping services when the new Liverpool2 deep water container terminal opens in December.”