Ports in Liverpool: Everything to Know

ports in Liverpool
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Liverpool is a metropolitan area in North West England. This beautiful metropolitan area is enclosed by a 12.1 km docks system. 

The dock system is a UNESCO Heritage site from 2004 to 2021. Not only this, but the port is also providing its services for many decades and is one of the important lifelines of the economy of this seaport. The port of Liverpool is one of the busiest ports in Northern Europe.

This article covers all the information about the ports in Liverpool ranging from their services, history and development and their role in the economic and social growth of the city.

Liverpool Mersey photo - Ports in Liverpool
Captured by: timajo | Source: pixabay

1. History And Construction Of The Port

1.1 The Old Dock

The first dock in the city of Liverpool, the Old Dock, was built back in the year 1715 and was the world’s first commercial dock.

Eventually, more and more docks were added. Furthermore, these all docks were interconnected by the lock gates that together form today’s 12.1 km long dock near the shore of River Mersey.

1.2 The Seaforth Dock

One of the largest docks of all the dock networks, Seaforth Dock was opened in 1972. This dock deals with the grain and the containers. Not only this, this dock was the largest ship carrying containers of its time.

1.3 Liverpool Freeport Zone

In the year 1984, Liverpool Freeport Zone was opened in the North Docks. This Freeport Zone plays a very crucial role in the transportation and shipping of goods.

1.4 The Euro Rail Terminal

In the year 1994, The Euro Rail Terminal was established in Seaforth Dock. In addition, more construction and development took place.

2. The Railway Network Connected To The Port Of Liverpool

2.1 Park Lane Railway

The first ever railway line that was linked to the dock was Park Lane Railway goods station in the year 1830. Earlier, this rail terminal was accessed through a 2.03 km long Wrapping Tunnel which is in the east of the city. The railway was demolished in the year 1972 but the tunnel is still present in the city.

2.2 Liverpool Riverside Railway

The Liverpool Riverside railway station was used to reach the Pier Head terminal until 1971.

2.3 Binkerhead Dock Branch Railway

On the other end of the river Mersey, the Birkenhead Dock branch provided its services between 1847 and 1993.

2.4 Canada Dock Branch Railway

Today only the Canada Dock branch line is used to serve these docks. Presently, the Canada Dock Branch is also used for metal processing and storage. Furthermore, it also handles bulk cargo.

2.5 City Bus

In addition to the Canada Dock Branch, the facilities for several city centre buses are available for people to reach the dock directly. This facility makes it very convenient for everyone to access the services which are provided by the dock easily.

Liverpool City photo - Ports in Liverpool
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3. Connected Ports And Docks

3.1 Liverpool Port System

The Liverpool port system is a well-established and connected port. This port system runs from Brunswick Dock in Liverpool to Liverpool2 (which is an extension of the Seaforth Dock), Seaforth which is on the east side of the river Mersey.

Furthermore, this port also runs in Birkenhead and Wallasey City on the west side of the river.

3.2 Container Terminals In Liverpool Port

The port of Liverpool operates two container terminals-the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal and Liverpool2. Moreover, these two container terminals are complemented by the facilities at Greenock in Scotland, Dublin in Ireland and Inland ports that are along the Manchester Ship Canal.

3.3 Garston Dock

The Garston Dock is a tidal dock that is situated at Garston, River Mersey. Furthermore, this dock is approximately 6 miles apart from Liverpool City Centre.

The dock is operated by Associated British Port. Presently, the dock covers an area of about 65 acres.

3.4 Hornby Dock

The Hornsby Dock is a part of the Port of Liverpool. It is situated on the banks of River Mersey. Furthermore, it is one of the Northern dock systems of the town of Bootle.

It is linked to the Alexandre Dock on the south side and Gladstone Dock on the North.

3.5 Gladstone Dock

The Gladstone Dock is connected to the Seaforth Dock on the North side and the Hornby Dock on the Southern side. Further, this dock is also one of the dock systems of the town of Bootle.

3.6 Brocklebank Dock

The Brocklebank Dock is a Northern Dock system in the town of Bootle, situated on the banks of River Mersey. The dock is linked to the Langton Dock in the North. Further, it is also linked to the Canada Dock in the South.

3.7 Alexandra Dock

The Alexandra Dock is one of the important docks in the port of Liverpool. Further, this dock consists of three sub-docks on the east side of the River Mersey.

3.8 Huskisson Dock

The Huskisson Dock is a part of the port of Liverpool, which is a Northern Dock system in the town of Kirkdale. Not only this, it has two sub-docks in the east.

Further, this dock is linked to the Canada Dock on the North side and it is connected to the Sandon Half Side Dock in the south.

3.9 Sandon Half Tide Dock

The Sandon Half Tide Dock is a half-tide Dock situated on the banks of River Mersey. Moreover, it is one of the northern Docks in Kirkdale.

It is connected to the Huskisson Dock in the North and the Bramley-Moore Dock in the South. Further, it is linked to the Wellington Dock in the east.

3.10 Wellington Dock

Wellington Dock is also one of the Northern Dock of Kirkdale situated on the banks of River Mersey. This dock is connected to the Sandon Dock in the south.

3.11 Bramley-Moore Dock

The Bramley-Moore Dock is a Dock on the banks of River Mersey. It is connected to Sandon Half Tide Dock in the North and the Nelson Dock in the South.

4. Operating Authorities

The major number of working docks are operated by Mersey Docks Harbour Company and Canal and River Trust. Earlier the docks that were present in the south were operated by the British Waterways which are now operated by Canal and River Trust.

The Peel Ports Group, which is the second biggest port group in Britain, owns and operates the port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal together. Due to this, the port of Liverpool is complemented by many facilities.

4.1 Port Of Liverpool Building

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, which is now known as the Port of Liverpool Building. It is located in Pier Head.

It is mainly responsible for navigational safety and the environmental health of the river Mersey between the Warrington Bridge and the outer port areas. Further, it also provides pilotage and vessel traffic services. It maintains all information about

  • The navigation, lights, and channels
  • Provides all the information related to the tidal waves
  • Information about the hydrography and water traffic to the port users.

The Port of Liverpool Building was also a World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City site declared by UNESCO.

FPort Of Liverpool Building - Ports in Liverpool
Captured by: dimitrisvetsikas1969 | Source: pixabay]

5. Cruise Facilities

5.1 Liverpool Cruise Terminal

Liverpool cruise terminal is a cruise terminal which provides a great cruise experience to all passengers. The cruise was established in 2007 and is operated by Liverpool city council.

Moreover, the cruise in Liverpool is one of the popular destinations for cruise tourists. It is also a busy ferry port for people travelling in the Irish Sea.

5.1.1 Statics Related To The Terminal

Till now the cruise terminal has operated more than 800 cruise ships that carried over 1 million passengers all over the world. Not only this, it has generated 72 million for the local economy with an additional 30 million gross tonnage of the shipping traffic to the river Mersey.

5.1.2 Facilities For The Passengers

The Liverpool cruise provides several options or facilities to visitors or cruise passengers. Moreover, apart from the various enjoyable experiences the cruise provides the facilities of long-stay parking for those who came with their transport.

Further, various food and drink venues are near the Royal Albert Dock which is just a walk from Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

Boat Tourism photo - Ports in Liverpool
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5.1.3 Ships That Arrive At The Terminal

The various cruise ships that are available for recreational activities are

  • Jewels of the Sea
  • Celebrity Apex
  • Regal Princess
  • MS Zuiderdam
  • Queen Mary 2
  • MV Britannia
  • Silver Shadow
  • The Wonder of the Sea
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Sea
  • Celebrity Edge
  • Viking Venus
  • Silver Moon
  • Borealis
  • P&O Britannia
  • Norwegian Dawn
  • Ambience

6. Commercial Services

The port of Liverpool together with other docks and ports in different regions in the world has been providing many services for many decades. Moreover, the docks that are linked together are responsible for the continuous flow of many goods and products that are important for the manufacturing of various products which are significant for the economy of many countries.

For instance, the port of Liverpool together with the Manchester ship canal handles 15 thousand vessel movements and around 40 million tons of cargo per year.

They are the gateway to around 120 thousand industrial and commercial hubs that are lifelines of the whole population of greater London.

6.1 Business Partners

The port has established a well-structured for business and commercial-related work. The port has good business alliances with the ports of the following countries:

  • North America
  • South America
  • India
  • China
  • Africa
  • Australia
  • Middle East Countries
  • Ireland
  • And with some ports in the UK

6.2 Goods That Are Transported

The port of Liverpool imports grain and animal feed. Further, the port also exports recycled metal to many countries.

The docks in the port of Liverpool handle the transportation of lots of products and goods. Some of these include timber and forest products, crude oil and coal, edible oil and fats, cocoa, and many chemicals.

Further, this port also handles the transportation of many metals like steel, aluminum, copper, and granite.

6.3 Area Available For Transportation Of Goods

This port handles a large number of shipped goods every year. It handles almost 7000 transportation units of containerized cargo per year. In order to handle such large transportation, the port has about 30 hectares of area that has warehouses.

Further, it has around 300 hectares of the area at its various terminals that are stop stations of various ships.

6.4 Different Goods Transported From Different Docks

The port of Liverpool is the main hub for the transportation of various processed and raw goods. In order to do this, different docks that are part of the Port of Liverpool import and export various products.

  • The port exports scrap metal to Middle Eastern countries from the Gladstone Dock. The port also imports coal and biomass.

Further, this port also handles the freight movement from Liverpool to Dublin.

  • The Garston Dock is an importer of wheat, salt and steel from various countries. It also exports scrap metal.

In fact, these ports also handle various products like fertilizers, cement, sea-dredged products, stones and agricultural products for further transportation.

The various product imports and exports are handled by the various dock branches that are part of the Port of Liverpool.

7. Port Of Liverpool And Its Contribution To The Environment

The port of Liverpool is a nature-friendly port. Various docks in the port of Liverpool have a large amount of greenery around them.

For instance, the Gladstone Dock has a large area around it covered with a large number of plants. Due to this, it is recognized by various organizations.

Many docks that are linked to the port also have adopted various environment-friendly measures for the transportation and processing of goods. This includes using non-conventional fuels. Moreover, the port has also adopted various non-polluting sources for the manufacturing of the ships.

Ports in Liverpool
Image by: Tony264 | Source: pixabay


In summary, the ports of Liverpool have made a significant contribution to the growth and development of Liverpool City. In addition, the port is an important lifeline of the economy of the city.

Furthermore, the port has not only contributed to the development but also helped in environment conservation by adapting various measures and steps. It was also one of the significant heritage sites.

Thus, the port of Liverpool is important in all aspects whether it is social, economic or environmental. Moreover, the port is a significant source of development for the people of Europe and the rest of the world.

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