Ecocem and Peel Ports launch £2million bulk handling facility in Runcorn

Ecocem Ireland has upped its export capacity with the launch of its first UK-based bulk import terminal along the Manchester Ship Canal.

The terminal which represents a £2million investment has been developed in partnership with Peel Ports, to help Ireland’s premier manufacturer of high performance, low carbon cement capitalise on the booming UK construction market.

A further £2million has already been committed to increase capacity at the Runcorn Docks site to meet the growing demands of the market.

The new bulk import facility will handle cement from Ecocem’s production facility in Dublin Port. From here it will be processed and transported direct to the heartland of the UK’s construction industry via road, rail and water.

Ecocem Ireland is the leading manufacturer of GGBS (Ground Granulated Blastfurnace Slag) which minimises the environmental impact of concrete, while maximising its technical performance.

It has already been used extensively in the UK including on projects such as the Olympic Stadium and The Shard in London.

Locally it has been used on projects in Manchester and Liverpool including One ST Peter’s Square and BDP studios.

This first ever UK-based investment forms part of Ecocem Ireland’s overall strategy to develop export markets from its existing facilities.

Construction has also started on a further UK import facility at Peel Ports Sheerness, giving access to the lucrative London and South East markets.

Conor O’Riain, Managing Director of Ecocem Ireland, said:

"We’ve invested in state of the art equipment to demonstrate to the market that we are here for the long term, and I’m delighted to say that the response from the market has been phenomenal.

"We’ve made commitments to sell more in the UK in our first year than our total domestic sales in 2016."

Andrew Martin, Group Land and Property Director at Peel Ports Group, added:

"We are delighted to be working with the Ecocem team to enable and support their entry into the UK market. We have been able to provide a multi-site solution that will accelerate the delivery of product as close as possible to the end customer."

Domestic cement production in the UK has traditionally not been sufficient to cope with domestic demand.

The shortfall is covered by imports from around Europe, and using alternative locally available materials. Two of the most prominent materials are Fly Ash, a by-product of the burning of coal, and GGBS (manufactured using a by-product of the production of Steel) – the technology used by Ecocem.

The UK concrete industry has long appreciated the technical superiority of using alternatives such as GGBS,

The demand for low carbon materials in Europe has never been stronger, reinforced by the historic international agreements at the recent COP 21.

Ecocem’s ability to deliver a reduction of over 70% in the carbon footprint of concrete, the world’s most popular building material, means the future is bright for the Irish firm.

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