Liverpool port is expected to handle 1 million TEUs compared with 750,000 TEUs in 2020 due to a rise in cargo flows towards smaller UK ports caused by congestion at larger UK ports.
Many larger ship carriers such as Maersk and MSC are diverting their shipments from Felixstowe towards European ports such as Liverpool via smaller vessels.
“We are seeing the benefit of these cargoes being transshipped into Europe”, said Mark Whiteworth, CEO of Peel Ports, which is the UK’s second largest port operator responsible for 70 million tons of cargo annually.
Whiteworth further added in an interview with Reuters that smaller 1,500 TEU container ships sailing from China are calling at Liverpool, whereas previously they would have dismissed such an option as being economically unviable.
Liverpool has an annual flow of trade of around $8 billion according to analysis by Russell’s ALPS Marine risk modelling platform. The port is a big hub for the North of England, meaning that goods can reach their destinations faster where needed in the North, and thus avoiding congestion in the South.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, the average cost of sending a container from Shanghai to Europe was £592 but the cost of shipping a container of goods is now nearly 550% higher than the seasonal average for the last five years according to The i newspaper.
Yet, three of Britain’s largest ports are the most expensive shipping destination in Europe according to a new survey of shipping costs. Liverpool, Southampton and the Port of London are the priciest destinations in Europe for sending a 20-foot container from Shanghai, which is often used as a benchmark for transportation from China.
The average cost of sending a container from Shanghai to Liverpool is valued at £9,112 which is 58% higher than the £5,736 price of Rotterdam, the cheapest European destination, according to analysis by ManSys, a logistics company, who conducted the survey.
Meanwhile the price of sending the same container to Southampton is valued at £8,306, £7,900 to the port of London and £6,517 to Felixstowe, the UK’s largest port.
A triple combination of Brexit, high consumer demand and the fact that UK bound goods are often transferred from vessels that dock in major hubs such as Rotterdam thereby incurring higher costs, are some of the reasons behind the higher shipping prices. Many experts worry that such costs will be passed onto the consumer and increase inflation in the UK.
With Liverpool gearing up for increased business in 2022 - in what looks set to be another year of congestion – the port may have to “carry that weight a long time” to borrow a line from its most famous sons, The Beatles.