The Port of Liverpool became part of the biggest carbon saving project in Europe this week.
Phase 1 of the new £100m terminal began business with the first-ever shipment of sustainable biomass pellets bound for Drax Power Station, near Selby in North Yorkshire.
Drax is the country’s largest single generator of renewable electricity, producing almost 2,000MW of renewable power, enough for three million homes.
A freight train with 25 specially-designed wagons carrying 1,600 tonnes of pellets left the port at 3.30pm for the 99-mile journey to the power station, which last year provided more than 12 per cent of the UK’s renewable electricity.
Andy Koss, chief executive of Drax Power Ltd, said:
“This is the Northern Powerhouse in action; bringing east-west connectivity and driving business and economic growth between the North West and Yorkshire.
“This new Liverpool terminal adds to facilities on the east coast, bolstering our network still further. A robust supply chain is crucial as we continue to use the latest technology to transform the Drax power station to generate electricity using sustainable biomass, providing the UK with reliable, affordable, low carbon energy.”
Already two cargoes of biomass - a by-product of the saw milling industry - have been discharged with another ship from North America expected next week. The terminal will eventually have the capacity to handle three million tonnes of wood pellets a year when fully completed in 2016.
All of the wood pellets arriving at the Port of Liverpool will be sent to Drax by rail, ensuring there is no impact on the local road network and the carbon footprint is minimised. Initially four trains a day will make deliveries and this is expected to increase to 10 daily train loads of pellets next year.
The new biomass terminal is set to create an additional 47 permanent jobs at the Port of Liverpool, while construction of the facility and the supply chain will create up to a further 300 jobs.
Gary Hodgson, COO Peel Ports Group, said:
“East west connectivity is crucial for driving growth across the entire of the North of England. This is a landmark moment for both the Port of Liverpool and Drax as we provide tangible evidence of how businesses across the north can work together to fuel the Northern Powerhouse.
“The Port of Liverpool can be a huge engine for growth for the Northern Powerhouse as we already handle 45% of the UK’s total transatlantic trade. This new service is a testament to the global supply chains which can already be accessed from the Port of Liverpool and these global links will increase dramatically when Liverpool2 is up and running.”
Biomass is an important part of Peel Ports’ strategy and is in line with the businesses’ aims to transfer freight from road to more sustainable forms of transport such as rail and water. The terminal will contribute to the ambitious growth plans for the Port of Liverpool, with the company already investing £300m to create the UK’s most centrally located deep water container terminal, known as Liverpool2, which is due to open in December 2015.
Liverpool2 will enable the port to handle the largest container ships in the global fleet while at the same time doubling the port’s container capacity.