June 5 - Atlantic Container Line (ACL) has confirmed that the Port of Liverpool will remain as the UK port of call for its new five-strong fleet of the world's largest container/ro-ro ships (CONROs) after a review of potential schedules, market potential
Peel Ports Group retained the transatlantic services in an extended 10-year contract and will make a GBP10 million (USD16.8 million) investment in Liverpool to widen the Seaforth Passage and create a dedicated car storage area capable of handling 70,000 vehicles per year.
In addition, ACL is expanding its Liverpool office to concentrate its commercial, marine and logistics operations work in the city, increasing staff numbers by 40 percent to over 180 people.
ACL has the five new G4 CONRO vessels currently under construction in China, which are due to be delivered from the middle of next year with the fifth and final vessel expected in service early 2016.
The vessels have been designed to go through Liverpool's Gladstone lock as the ro-ro operations are most efficiently managed on the flat water of the enclosed Seaforth Dock. They will not be using the new in-river berths currently under construction at the Liverpool2 deep-sea container terminal which will accommodate new post-Panamax vessels.
David Huck, port director, Port of Liverpool, said: "Our relationship with ACL is an extremely positive one and we've worked very closely with their team on our investment programme to significantly reduce transit times through the dock system, accommodating the significant extra volumes and new operating systems that the new fleet will require."