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Green light for new Mersey ro ro terminal – updated

[ November 15, 2023   //   ]

Peel Ports has officially opened its Green Automotive Hub at Eastham on the River Mersey which will be served by a twice weekly freight ro ro service from Vigo in north-west Spain, operated by Suardiaz.

The £10 million hub was officially opened in a ribbon cutting ceremony on 14 November when it welcomed the first vessel.

Located on a 9.5-acre site at Queen Elizabeth II Dock at Eastham, within Peel Ports’ Mersey cluster, the Hub will supply parts for Stellantis’ Ellesmere Port’s vehicle manufacturing site which will produce solely battery-electric commercial and passenger vehicles. Peel Ports and Suardíaz have invested a combined £10 million in recommissioning an existing berth at the dock and installing the infrastructure needed to support the processing of ro ro ships.

The new service from Spain is projected to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 30% and energy consumption by 37%, when compared to road transport and is expected to take about 14,700 lorry journeys off roads across the UK and continental Europe every year.

The route is being operated as a dedicated service for Stellantis as main and priority customer. However, in the future, when there is a clear picture of capacity it will be opened to other users, said a Suardíaz spokesperson.

Peel Ports chief executive Claudio Veritiero said: “This new Green Automotive Hub is set to be a gamechanger in cutting supply chain emissions and road congestion in the UK. We have consistently said that reducing road miles will be central to combating climate change, but we know that can only be achieved by providing sustainable alternatives utilising ports in close proximity to final destinations.

“An essential element of our sustainability drive is close collaboration with like-minded businesses, and we are delighted to partner with Suardiaz and Stellantis on this pioneering project.”

Suardiaz president and chief executive Juan Riva, added: “We are actively engaged with Peel Ports, Freeports, and the Ellesmere Port Plant to facilitate the adoption of Cold Ironing and the electrification of the last mile by using electric trucks. The imminent introduction of biofuels to our ships will further strengthen our commitment to the decarbonisation and sustainability of our maritime-land corridors, in the same spirit under which Stellantis electric vehicles are manufactured.”

Stellantis’ Ellesmere Port plant director, Diane Miller, said: “Following the start of electric vehicle production earlier this year, this is another important milestone for Ellesmere Port, enabling us to establish a sustainable supply chain through a new maritime shipping route with our sister plant in Vigo, Spain. I’d like to thank Peel Ports and Suardiaz for their collaboration on this groundbreaking project.”