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CHANCELLOR George Osborne visited the Port of Liverpool to mark the start of dredging for Liverpool2 - the PS300m quayside that will handle some of the world's largest ships.

At a ceremony held to celebrate the occasion at Seaforth Docks yesterday Mr Osborne rang a bell to officially start work and welcomed the estimated 5,000 jobs the scheme is expected to create.

He said: "It's a real delight to be here and it's very exciting to see something that is so important for our country.

"This is a great example of public and private money working together."

The ECHO reported last year that a PS35m grant was approved by the Government's Regional Growth Fund to go towards the cost of dredging the channel by docks owner Peel Ports. The move will allow huge post-Panamax vessels to berth, which are currently unable to access the river or the lock system at Seaforth due to a lack of depth.

The new terminal will be able to simultaneously berth two of the world's largest ships.

Capable of carrying up to 13,500 containers at a time, such vessels are four times bigger than the largest container ships currently using the port.

Mr Osborne said: "This project is good news for Merseyside and the North West, but also important to the UK as a whole.

"As well as creating 5,000 jobs, upgrading Merseyside's maritime infrastructure demonstrates that this country is open for business, and ready to compete in the global race."

Mark Basnett, executive director for Key Growth Sectors at the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership explained the current logistic model of the UK sees 90% of vessels using the south coast ports. Yet 50% of the contents are destined for locations north of Bir mingham.

He said: "This is a historic milestone not just for the Port of Liverpool, but for the resurgence of the whole city region."

The Chancellor also met apprentices who are training for jobs in the region's maritime industry.


WORKING TOGETHER: John Whittaker, chairman of The Peel Group with George Osborne NEW START: Chancellor George Osborne visits Port of Liverpool

CLEARING THE WAY: Flares mark the start of dredging
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 29, 2013
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