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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Supermarket to 'float' its stock
Manchester Ship Canal
Crates of wine will be delivered to a container terminal at Irlam
A supermarket chain is to become the first major retailer in England to start transporting goods by canal.

Tesco will use the Manchester Ship Canal to move crates of wine from South America from the Port of Liverpool and a container terminal at Irlam.

The retailer says the move will mean hundreds of lorries can be taken off the roads, reducing congestion and cutting carbon emissions.

It already has plans to use other canal links across Britain.

The move has been made possible by the collaboration of Tesco, Peel Holdings who run the canal and the Port of Liverpool and importer Kingsland Wines.

The new cargo service involves three journeys a week, delivering an estimated 600,000 litres of wine on each journey along the 40-mile stretch of the canal.

This is a step forward in helping to address today's important environmental issues
Laurie McIlwee, Tesco

The containers of wine from Australia, California, Chile and Argentina are then transported to a bottling site less than half a mile away where they are packed for Tesco supermarkets across the country.

Until now the wine shipments have arrived in the UK at various southern ports by ship before being driven to the Manchester bottling depot.

Tesco distribution director Laurie McIlwee said: "This move will be like taking a step back to the pre-car days of the late Victorian era when a lot of cargo was still transported by canal, and is a step forward in helping to address today's important environmental issues.

"We are already looking at other areas where we can move freight on waterways."

Frank Robotham from Peel Holdings said: "This is something we've been working on for 12 months.

"It has already got a lot of interest from other retailers. We believe it has a definite sustainable future as not only is it environmentally friendly but is also cost effective."

Barges will carry Tesco goods

Tesco to transport goods on the Manchester ship canal

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