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Merseyside History, Seaforth Dock

IN the 1960's building began n the massive Royal Seaforth Dock, now known locally as Bootle Docks or the Freeport. The land had been drained and planning permission had been obtained almost 60 years before.   The port was the first to have port assisted radar operations in the UK to improve the safety of shipping entering the new port and the port was hailed as one of the most important developments of the 70's in the UK   

Then in 1972 the Royal Seaforth Dock opens. It was a very irregular octagonal basin in a 500 acre site, ten specialized berths containing, grain and timber terminals that are sill used today. These can receive ships of up to 70,000 tons; today this is still the newest Liverpool dock and aerial shots of the docks are shown above.  Below is a copy of a section from the original promotional booklet that was issued on the opening of the port.   The port boasted in its brochure that the main dock could hold the Seven Wonders of the World and still have room for more. 
Later in 1984, Seaforth became Britain's first fully active Freeport. It attracts businesses because it has 11 acres of secure space were imported goods can be stored and processed free of Customs duty, VAT and EU taxes, and there is direct access to Europe by road, rail and sea. 

To this day the port is at the forefront of international development of new technology and ideas for safety and business practices.   Now the port is looking at the environment as well and in 1999 a wind farm with six turbines is opened at Seaforth, making yet more changes to the skyline of the river Mersey.   Just like in the 1970's when the huge container cranes were installed and the radar tower that still operate today.

Today Seaforth deals with a large amount of the port's total work. Each year the dock deals with around 500,000 containers, 1,236,000 tonnes of oil, over 2.5 million tonnes of grain and animal feed, 452,000 tonnes of wood per year and with 25% of all container traffic between UK and USA making the port one of the most successful in the world. The dock is still growing and developing, with new container services, animal feed stores, warehouses and a large growth in scrap metal shipment. It is also part of the Atlantic Gateway initiative which aims to improve communications, business and quality of life for residents and businesses in the north of Liverpool.

To see the radar operation click here...

Photographs taken by Patrick Trollope BA(Hons) LBPPA. 

The map opposite was copied from the opening pr brochure shows cargo destinations and routs that still apply today.  Above is an aerial shot of the docks in 2003, and shows its location on the mouth of the Mersey, well away from the original beginnings of the port by the Liverbuildings.


Mersey Reporter and Liverpool Reporter are Trade Marks of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright Patrick Trollope 2004