Now that Liverpool port can handle the biggest ships after its recent expansion at Liverpool 2 terminal it is making increasing sense to import through the Port of Liverpool. It’s not just the congestion at Felixstowe, and Southampton but also container haulage prices. These are increasing each year well ahead of inflation as the shortage of drivers continues to bite and there is not sign of them reducing any time soon.
Big Importers such as B&M Bargains with their 600 shops are at the forefront of this change to importing into the North of England directly and they have given themselves a target of 80% of their imports through the Port of Liverpool for 2019.
Another concern is the congestion fears at Southern ports due to Brexit, using the Port of Liverpool minimizes this risk.
There are any number of transshipment services from China, the Far East and India into Liverpool, offered by Maersk, MSC, CMA and others but a direct service from the Far East remains elusive. The hurdles any line will have to overcome are the time taken for a ship to sail up the Irish Sea and back that would have to be factored into existing ‘round robin’ port calls at the various large Northern Europe ports. In addition, the fuel burn would add to costs. On the other hand, whichever shipping line takes the plunge will not have pay to use one of the specialist Liverpool feeder service operators as they currently do, nor would they have the dead and expensive cost of unloading from one ship and loading onto another at a transshipment port.
A Far East Liverpool service boils down to good old fashioned supply and demand. If enough customers push for imports direct in to the North of England then at least one shipping line is likely to take the plunge.