Tag Archives: Manchester Ship Canal.

Solihull, Leeds and Manchester aim to reduce air pollution and ease traffic congestion

Employees at Blythe Valley Park in Solihull can now use a free shuttle bus from Solihull and Birmingham International to and around this business park. The colourful, eye-catching shuttle bus service is operated by Solihull-based transport service provider LandFlight, formerly known as Silverline. It runs 16 daily shuttles, each accommodating up to 60 people, between the park and the two rail stations.

Deborah Fennell, park manager at Blythe Valley Park, said: “This bus service not only helps us reduce our collective carbon footprint but also ensures that parking demands continue to be met without impacting on the space and facilities we can offer businesses. By providing complimentary and convenient connections between the park and nearby rail stations, we encourage visitors and employees at the park to use public transport for their commute.”

The owners of the park, IM Properties, introduced this service to encourage park employees to commute via public transport. Approximately 2,700 people working for the park’s 24 companies and more will come on as site continues to develop.

Water taxi used in Leeds, advocated for use between Icknield Port and congested, polluted Birmingham city centre:

Canal or riverside business and industrial parks are able to take another measure to reduce air pollution and ease traffic congestion by extending the use of water buses for passengers, already operating in a number of cities (above), and larger vessels for bulky freight (below).

In Trafford Park which has transport links by road, rail, water and air, businessman Graham Dixon advocates using Manchester’s waterways rather than clogging up the road network with cargo. He has welcomed the first arrival – a 2300 tonne ship, RMS Duisburg, which brought two large silos from Germany, bound for a Manchester factory.

Dixon’s ultimate vision is for Esprit’s Trafford Docks which he has re-opened and refitted, to be busy once again, bringing bulk goods such as road salt, aggregates, grain and biomass via the Manchester Ship Canal into Manchester. This would remove many lorries from the surrounding roads, reducing congestion and pollution.

As he said: “If one ship brings 3000 tonnes of freight up the canal, that’s over 100 lorry journeys removed from the roads, requiring only the first and the final few miles to be carried by lorry instead of potentially hundreds of miles.”




Using our waterways reduces road congestion, fuel consumption and air pollution

Graham Dixon: “If one ship brings 3000 tonnes of freight up the canal, that’s over 100 lorry journeys removed from the roads, requiring only the first and the final few miles to be carried by lorry instead of potentially hundreds of miles.”  

graham-dixonFor two years Esprit Warehousing & Docks owned by Graham Dixon (left) has been refurbishing the derelict Trafford Park Docks site so that bulk goods such as road salt, aggregates, grain and biomass can be brought via the Manchester Ship Canal into Manchester, removing many lorries from the surrounding roads and reducing  congestion and pollution. The Esprit Trafford Park Docks can now handle vessels carrying oversized freight which is too large for normal transport by road. Esprit have also refurbished two warehouses on the site up to food-grade standard, so that freight can be stored at the docks, inside or outside, and gradually collected over a period of time.

In January the 2300 tonne ship ‘RMS Duisburg’ arrived at Trafford Park Docks, marking its re-opening after being closed for over 10 years. It brought two large silos from Germany, bound for a factory in Manchester.


The silos were collected from Rotterdam by RMS Duisburg, shipped around the south coast of England and arrived at Esprit’s Trafford Park Docks in Manchester where two large cranes quickly transferred to low loaders ready for the final four miles by road under police escort.


“Imagine the congestion these would have caused if they’d travelled by road from Hull or Liverpool. Freight back on the Manchester Ship Canal: surely this has to be the way forward?” 

Not only can goods be brought into Manchester, but those produced in Manchester can also now be shipped out via the Manchester Ship Canal. Equally freight doesn’t have to be international to use the canal. Esprit recently signed an agreement with Belgian company Blue Line Logistics who operate smaller barges on inland waterways. These can be used for moving palletised goods between the many berths up and down the ship canal, utilising their onboard cranes for lifting pallets directly onto and off the quayside.

In Belgium, many local authorities impose planning conditions requiring developers to bring their construction materials as near to the site as possible via the canals. The Manchester Ship Canal can now be used in this way, with Trafford Docks as the ideal location, leaving only the final few miles for road transport.

Graham Dixon adds: “Businesses need to start thinking ‘can our raw materials or finished goods be transported on the canal rather than by road?”

(A map showing Britain’s inland waterways and canals may be downloaded here.)






The ‘green highway’ which links Liverpool and Manchester

Road congestion and soaring fuel prices are leading firms to look for a cheaper, more reliable and greener freight alternative.

peel ports logoIt has been reported that waterways in the north-west are undergoing a “renaissance”. Road congestion and soaring fuel prices have left firms looking for a cheaper, more reliable and greener alternative. The BBC article drew on information from the Freight Transport Association, a trade association representing the interests of companies moving goods by canal, rail, road, sea and air.

It noted that Peel Ports, which owns the Port of Liverpool and Manchester Ship Canal, is investing in increased capacity.

Work has started on dredging and deepening the River Mersey to allow the new generation of cargo ships to dock at the planned Liverpool 2 terminal.

dredging mersey

Saving money, good for the environment and the economy

Currently only London Gateway and Felixstowe are large enough to house these ships, so goods travel hundreds of miles north by road. Peel Ports predicts that enabling them to sail directly into Liverpool, bypassing congested roads, will boost the north-west economy by billions each year. Businesses are already realising that they could make savings on fuel and carbon footprint; the extra four or five days on the water – additional cost for ocean freight – is offset by only 20 miles haulage, saving 90% on road transport.

Canal shuttles carry 250 containers, potentially 250 less lorries clogging up the roads, and a larger canal transporter is now moving 2,000 containers at a time.

The number of containers being shipped via the northern canals increased from 3,000 in 2009, to about 25,000 this year, and Peel hopes that will rise to 100,000 by 2030.

Gary Hodgson, managing director of Peel Ports Mersey, said that planned investment would result in “huge savings in cost, carbon and congestion for the UK”.

The next stage involves creating a hub at a new project, Port Salford – adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal – with warehousing and a linked-in road development scheme. New ports will also be built at Wirral, Ince, Bridgewater and Warrington.

Hodgson added: “It’s a catalyst for change for the port. Once we link that with investments we’re making in Manchester Ship Canal, that will allow shippers to move cargo from the Far East through Liverpool 40 miles inland towards Manchester into warehouses without touching a single mile of UK roads.” The terminal on the River Mersey, called Liverpool 2, is due to open in 2015.

The Irlam Container Terminal 27 miles up the Ship Canal on the ‘green highway’; which links Liverpool and Manchester, has now been further supported by a new state-of-the-art operating system; TERMINUS, developed by Peel Ports’ in-house IT team, employs ‘cutting edge’ IT and operating systems across the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal.

It would be good to see an increasing number of British manufacturers and retailers sending goods to the domestic market in this way – and a transition to the use of cleaner fuels on the inland waterways.