Logistics and shipping specialist Quality Freight UK and Peel Ports have launched a new container service between Liverpool and Ellesmere Port.
The scheduled weekly service will be run by BG Freight, one of the shipping lines within the Peel Ports Group.
The new Friday service will run between Seaforth and Ellesmere Port.
In addition, an existing Manchester Ship Canal service has been extended to three sailings a week to meet growing demand.
The expanded service has the potential to reduce the number of road miles by up to half a million a year.
The initiative forms a key part of Peel Ports Liverpool2 project. Opening early next year, Liverpool2 will be the UKs most centrally-located deep water container terminal. It will double the capacity of the Port of Liverpool and allow it to handle some of the largest container ships in the world.
Sebastian Gardiner, Managing Director of Quality Freight UK, said: The volumes we are handling are growing year-on-year and this significantly increased service will help to meet the needs of existing and new customers at Ellesmere Port.
One of the most exciting aspects is the opportunity to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads and clearing boxes from an area where potential bottle-necks and delays exist.
We have estimated that the new and increased services have the potential to slash the number of road miles by up to half a million a year.
Earlier this year, Quality Freight UK agreed a new long-term lease with Peel Ports.
The company has committed to a new 20-year lease at its 40-acre multi-modal facility in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
Expansion plans include the investment of a seven-figure sum in the development of a new 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse to increase the volume, quality and variety of goods that can be housed on the site.
It has also continued to invest in its transport fleet with the number of vehicles on the road now standing at 12.
Peel Ports and Quality Freight UK also worked closely together to bring about the reopening of the rail head in Ellesmere Port in 2011. It can handle both inbound and outbound cargoes and all types of cargo including bulk, container and FMCG. Quality Freight UK is able to feed into the national and European rail network through its relationships with major rail operators.
Sebastian Gardiner added: The launch of the new container service is the culmination of an extremely busy 12 months at Quality Freight UK.
We are excited to be playing an important role in the wider Liverpool2 project which promises so much for the region.
Koert Luitwieler, CEO of BG Freight Line, said: We see this schedule as a huge step forward which will enable us to offer very reliable shipping solutions for our customers. The increased frequency on the canal and the introduction of Ellesmere Port will drive more and more containers from road/rail to environmentally friendly waterways.
Quality Freight UK is part of the Quality Freight Group. In addition to the base in Ellesmere Port, the Group has bases in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Knock, Hull, Grangemouth, Chatham and Rotterdam.