The Manchester Ship Canal is a 56 kilometre linear port providing access for shipping to docks and berthing facilities along its full length from Eastham on Merseyside to Salford in Greater Manchester.
There are five sets of locks on the Canal which besides helping maintain water levels also lift vessels a total of 17 metres on their way to Manchester.
Queen Elizabeth II Dock is specially designed to handle bulk liquid petroleum products, chemicals and edible oils, and can accommodate vessels of up to 40,000 tonnes deadweight and a draught of up to 10 metres.
Valero Terminals have storage facilities for a wide range of liquid chemicals and petroleum products which are pipeline-fed direct from the berths of QE II Dock as well as the Sheerlegs berth.
Ellesmere Port, Manisty Wharf and North Wall handle a variety of dry and project cargoes as well as heavy lifts.
Associated Octel Wharf is a private wharf owned by Associated Octel.
Shell Chemicals Berth handles chemicals from the Shell Higher Olefins Plant.
Stanlow Oil Docks are leased by Shell UK Ltd.
Stanlow Lay-by is used by both Cabot Carbon and Castrol UK Ltd. for imports of cycle oil and lube oil respectively, as well as Shell UK Ltd.
Ince Coaster Berth & Ince Oil Berth are used by Shell UK mainly for the export of their manufactured chemical petroleum products.
Runcorn Docks specialises in handling a wide variety of bulk cargoes. Investment in new sheds, deepening the dock and handling facilities has seen steady increases in tonnage.