Dutch shipping line launches new Liverpool service

WEC vessel Vermeer

Dutch company WEC Lines is beginning a new service connecting the Port of Liverpool with two major Portuguese ports.

The new weekly service will begin this month and connect Liverpool with Setubal and Leixoes, using the 882 teu (container) vessel, mv Francop.

The direct calls to Liverpool will import a range of Iberian products.

WEC Lines becomes the fourth major line announcement for Liverpool in the past few months, following the commitment by Chinese shipping giant Cosco, and the 2M shipping alliance which confirmed at the end of 2018 that Liverpool will be a permanent call on its TA4 transatlantic service.

There are now five of the world’s biggest shipping lines using Liverpool as a global gateway to the North of the UK and Midlands.

Earlier this year Peel Ports announced that it was aiming to create 250 jobs, mostly in Liverpool, to deal with continued business growth.

Nico Pons, commercial manager short sea services at WEC, said: “We’re delighted to commit to using Liverpool with this new direct call.

“In the three years we have been using the port we have been greatly impressed by the care and efficiency demonstrated by Peel Ports and look forward to having direct access to the North of the UK and Midlands.”

Bryn Kerr of JSA Global, WEC Lines UK agent, added: “This is a very positive signal for the Port of Liverpool and speaks volumes of the relationship which has been built up over the previous years with WEC Lines.

“The new service will ensure goods are able to arrive closer to their ultimate destination and in the quickest time possible.”

Mark Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports, said: “Confidence is building around Liverpool in part thanks to the recent series of high profile line announcements we have already made this year.

“Shipping lines and customers are coming round to benefits of shipping through one of the UK’s natural trade gateways which is ultimately closer to the end destination of their cargoes.

“As Liverpool goes from strength to strength we expect major lines to build on their investments at the port in the coming years.”