Green auto docks hub serving car maker will slash road miles and pollution

Queen Elizabeth II dock

Peel Ports is recommissioning a dock next to the Manchester Ship Canal, together with car manufacturer Stellantis, to serve its nearby Ellesmere Port site which will become the first of its plants to produce solely battery-electric models for both commercial and passenger vehicles.

The facility on Queen Elizabeth II Dock at Eastham will service a twice-weekly shipping route from Vigo Port in Spain, to Eastham, supplying auto parts for the car plant, which will take an estimated 14,700 lorry journeys off roads across the UK and continental Europe annually, saving approximately 11 million miles in road trips.

Peel Ports and global logistics firm Suardíaz have invested a combined £10m in the 9.5-acre green automotive hub, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Launching in September 2023, the new maritime logistics hub and the shipping route are projected to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 30% and energy consumption by 37%, when compared with road travel.

Work has begun on installing the infrastructure needed to support the processing of the Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) ships and their cargo.

David Huck, chief operating officer at Peel Ports, said: “A key part of achieving our sustainable goals involves working collaboratively with like-minded businesses, so it has been fantastic to work alongside Suardíaz and Stellantis.

“The project is a progressive example of the collaboration required to make the maritime and logistics sectors greener.”

He added: “Our dedicated and stringent work to reduce our impact on the environment has seen several measurable successes in recent years, and this is the next innovative step as we work towards our goals.

“We have long advocated that reducing road miles is key to tackling climate change, but this can only be achieved by offering sustainable alternatives and choosing ports closer to end destinations.”

Juan Riva, president and CEO of Suardíaz, said: “Suardíaz provides logistics connectivity between the Iberian Peninsula, the Stellantis facilities in Vigo, Spain and the Ellesmere Port factory in the UK, seeking to deliver an efficient maritime solution which lessens the impact on the environment.

“This new service will commence as soon as the new facilities become operationally ready and, in this regard, I would like to thank Peel Ports for their proactivity and contribution to the development of this new multimodal solution for the Ellesmere Port factory.”

He added: “This game-changing move will remove trucks off the road, reducing road congestion and carbon emissions, and with our additional actions in using biofuels to power our ships and cold ironing, we are contributing to developing a sustainable supply chain which underpins the spirit in which Stellantis’s vehicles are manufactured.”

The creation of the green automotive hub represents the latest sustainable move from Peel Ports, which, in 2021, announced its commitment to becoming a net zero port operator by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Government’s target.

In August 2022, the group also confirmed its Port of Heysham in Lancashire had reduced the carbon emissions of its landside plant, equipment and vehicles by 90% in what is believed to be a first for any UK port.