Peel Ports announces milestone in supply of biomass to Drax

By Peel Ports | June 17, 2016

Seven months after opening phase 1 of its biomass terminal, Peel Ports has dispatched more than 400 freight services from the railheads at the Port of Liverpool to Drax power station in North Yorkshire. The milestone was announced to delegates at TOC Europe in Hamburg 15 June by Port Director David Huck during a case study presentation about its partnership with the Drax facility.

The site is both the single largest carbon saving project in Europe and the U.K.’s biggest single generator of renewable electricity. It produces almost 2,000 MW of renewable power—enough for 3 million homes and around 12 percent of U.K. renewable generation. The power station is supplied with sustainable biomass shipped directly by rail from the terminal, with each service carrying around 1,700 metric tons of compressed wood pellets manufactured and imported from North America as a by-product from working forests and the sawmill industry. The terminal has created nearly 50 extra permanent jobs at the Port of Liverpool.

Huck said, “This project is strategically important to us for a variety of reasons. It is making better added value use of the extensive rail facilities we have at the port. It supports our aim of shifting freight from road to more sustainable forms such as rail or water. And it’s a very tangible east-west partnership in the linkages connecting the Northern Powerhouse.”

He added, “Clearly our primary market is in providing efficient logistics connectivity within the North-west, which has a significant concentration of consumers, manufacturers and supply chain facilities. However, our customers also need the flexibility to go further in the U.K. than our immediate hinterland and our direct rail capacity at the port is crucial to that.”

In addition to the trans-Pennine rail links used for the Liverpool to Drax flows, the port’s proximity of 25 miles to the West Coast Main Line provides efficient access and journey times to markets in Scotland, the Midlands and the Southeast. For intermodal traffic, the port has W10 gauge clearance capability, allowing 9 foot, 6 inch containers to be conveyed on standard deck height rail wagons. In addition, available train path capacity to the port is currently amongst the highest of all major ports within the U.K.