The port of Liverpool is a truly international container shipping port. In 2010 the port handled over 30 million tonnes of container cargo. It is the UK’s dominant port for container shipping to North America. Along with this cargo is also shipped from Liverpool to more than 100 non-EU destinations. These include, China, India, Africa, Australia, the Middle East and South America. Expansion is also planned which would double the amount of containers that can be handled by the port. Currently, Liverpool is capable of and does handle 700,000 20ft containers per year.
The port of Liverpool is ideally located for the UK motorway network, with the M56, M57 and M62 all within close proximity of the port. Transportation on the M56 route gives the container industry fast access to Chester (24 miles) and the surrounding areas. The M57 takes any cargo to the outlying areas of Liverpool, North of the city and onto Southport (20 miles). Also, linking from the M57 is the M58 motorway, which will take containers onto the M6, leading as far North as Carlisle (124 miles), and South to Birmingham (98 miles). The M62 goes from Liverpool to Manchester (34 miles), and then onto Leeds (72 miles).
Cargo is also easily transported to Manchester and other parts of the North West of England via the Manchester ship canal. Some 8 million tonnes of container cargo is transported in this way each year.
Located on the river Mersey, the port of Liverpool, handles over 30 million tonnes of cargo each year, along with 15,000 ship movements. This makes the Mersey estuary the third busiest in the UK. The first dock at Liverpool was built in 1715, and Liverpool has seen its ups and downs along the way. Trading via the port was hit very hard around 1775 with the start of the American war of independence, hindering the very important import and export trading with North America. Just twenty years further on in history and Liverpool was flourishing again. At the start of the Napoleonic wars, while southern ports were suffering due to the wars, Liverpool was well away from any conflict and was able to trade as normal, if not even better, as traders sought alternative routes to those in the South. Trade laws, war and major events have, through history had a big impact on the port of Liverpool, and trading in container shipping is now at an all time high.