Ports operator opens green hub to help cut auto plant’s CO2 emissions levels

Peel Ports Green Automotive Manufacturing Hub

Liverpool-based Peel Ports has launched a UK-first Green Automotive Manufacturing Hub which it says will reduce supply chain emissions in the North West.

The initiative, in conjunction with shipping line Suardiaz, is based at the 9.5-acre Queen Elizabeth II Dock, Eastham, on the Wirral, and within Peel Ports’ Mersey cluster.

It will power sustainable vehicle manufacturing and facilitate a greener end-to-end maritime logistics service in the North West.

The £10m facility was officially opened yesterday (November 14) when it welcomed a Suardiaz vessel from Vigo Port in Spain, to which it will service a twice-weekly shipping route.

Developed in partnership with global logistics firm Suardiaz for vehicle maker Stellantis, formerly Vauxhall, which has a key electric vehicle manufacturing plant nearby at Ellesmere Port, the service will supply parts for the plant, which is the first Stellantis site to produce solely battery-electric models for commercial and passenger vehicles.

The maritime route servicing the plant is projected to reduce annual CO2 emissions by 30% and energy consumption by 37%, when compared with road travel. It is expected to take an estimated 14,700 lorry journeys off roads across the UK and continental Europe annually, saving approximately 17.5 million kilometres (c.11 million miles) in road trips.

Claudio Veritiero, CEO at Peel Ports, said: “This new Green Automotive Hub is set to be a gamechanger in cutting supply chain emissions and road congestion in the UK. It’s a great example of the forward-thinking cooperation that is needed to reduce the impact of the maritime and logistics sectors on the environment.

“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.”

Juan Riva, President and CEO of Suardiaz, said: “This new Suardiaz Terminal is the result of the excellent collaboration between Peel Ports and Suardiaz, as well as the trust vested by Stellantis in Suardiaz to establish and execute the supply chain for Ellesmere Port plant.

“The intermodal solution we have implemented for the Ellesmere Port factory, which combines road and maritime transport, will significantly reduce CO2 emissions by eliminating over 14,000 trucks from European and British roads.

“Furthermore, 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.”

Diane Miller, Ellesmere Port plant director, Stellantis, 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.”

Peel Ports and Suardíaz invested a combined £10m in recommissioning an existing berth at the dock and installing the infrastructure needed to support the processing of the Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) ships and their cargo to develop the hub.

The launch of the hub represents the latest move by Peel Ports to improve the sustainability of its operations. In 2021 the group announced its commitment to becoming a net zero port operator by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Government’s target.