Atlantic Container Line (ACL) has signed a 15-year contract extension agreement with the UK-based port operator Peel Ports Group for container and roll-on / roll-off (RoRo) operations at the Port of Liverpool.

Owned by Italian shipping company Grimaldi Group, ACL is a major ocean carrier at Liverpool’s Royal Seaforth Container Terminal (RSCT). It is also the port’s longest-serving container carrier.

The latest agreement is valid until 2035 and indicates ACL’s confidence in the growing volume of transatlantic trade between the UK and North America.

Peel Ports Group is modernising the RSCT so that it can dock ACL’s new fleet of G4 vessels, which are UK-registered and fly the Red Ensign.

Peel Ports Group has increased the width of the passage entrance into the Seaforth Basin by 28m to enable the large G4 ships to access the terminal.

The port operator is also investing in two ship-to-shore (STS) cranes, which will enable ACL to manage increasing cargo requirements. The project is scheduled to be concluded in 2021.

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Grimaldi Group president Gianluca Grimaldi said: “The Grimaldi Group applauds the major improvements to Royal Seaforth Terminal and recognises it as a renewed commitment of our strong relationship with the Port of Liverpool, Mersey Maritime, and the customers and suppliers who have been supportive of ACL’s operation for so many years.”

Every year, ACL delivers more than 125,000 units of cars, containers, and RoRo machinery. Supporting the supply chain, it serves as a connection between the UK’s export and import trades. Each week, ACL ships call at Liverpool port twice.

Peel Ports chief executive Mark Whitworth said: “This is a huge vote of confidence in us as a port and a company, and we’re delighted to be continuing our commercial partnership with ACL into the longer term.

“Liverpool’s strategic position makes it a prime gateway for transatlantic trade and will continue to be instrumental as confidence in North American trade grows. The investment we will be making in the new STS cranes will help other customers, as well as ACL.”

In September, Peel Ports awarded a contract to McLaughlin & Harvey to complete the second phase of expansion at the Liverpool2 deep-water container terminal on river Mersey.