Green light for Containerbase
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• The two-year standstill on the development of the Merseyside headquarters of Containerbase Ltd, is likely to end soon. Detailed negotiations are to start early next month with a view to reaching an agreement with the Transport and General Workers Union, which would limit employment at the base to registered dock workers.
Mr L. Carlile. manager of Containerbase Ltd at Bootle, said: "As soon as this agreement is completed we can start a £500,000 development programme in readiness for the containerized Far East services next year."
The existing Dm Containerbase at present occupies 20 acres, but it is planned to develop a further 15 acres. The insistence of Merseyside dock workers that only registered dockers be employed at the base caused recruitment to be halted two years ago, since when it has continued to operate with the existing 17 employees. Because of this, the base has never operated to capacity.
Once the development of the base is completed and traffic builds up. it is envisaged that a direct labour force of 200 will be required.
Mr Carlile commented: "Although we have been handling about 300 containers per week, most being for Customs clearance only, we have been unable to handle the potential trade because of the standstill on recruitment. A considerable volume of Merseyside container traffic has had to be channelled elsewhere.
"We have been waiting for the Devlin II modernization agreement to be implemented in Liverpool. Now that this has been agreed we hope to reach a similar agreement for the Containerbase and invite applications from dock workers. Once we have a labour agreement, we will have the green light to build up. As employers, we shall then seek membership of the Port Employers Association."
About 20 acres of space will be required at the base for Far East traffic alone, while it is expected that the volume of containers being handled will increase five times.