Peel Ports Group has strengthened its global container operations with the appointment of Marcus Connolly as its new strategic commercial director, as part of a wider strategy to increase the number of containers shipped into the Port of Liverpool that are destined for the north of Britain.

Currently, almost two thirds of deep sea containers meant for the north of the country are shipped into southern ports, leading to greater congestion on the roads. Part of Connelly’s brief will be to see more of these containers shipped directly to the Port of Liverpool to create a more sustainable supply chain.

Connolly joins the port operator with more than 25 years’ experience in international container shipping and logistics, having held roles at A.P. Moller – Maersk and NYSHEX.

He brings with him a background in international container shipping and expertise in building and leading teams across product, sales, and customer experience.

Prior to joining Peel Ports, Connelly served as carrier experience director for Europe at NYSHEX, where he introduced two-way committed ocean contracts and SaaS solutions to container shipping. 

Before NYSHEX, Connelly spent more than 25 years at A.P. Moller – Maersk, including eight years as head of trade and marketing and customer experience functions in the UK & Ireland as well as six years as head of sales UAE, Oman, Qatar and Iran, based in Dubai.

Based at the Port of Liverpool, Connolly will be responsible for developing transformational growth opportunities through group-wide strategic partnerships as well as further developing strong relationships with major shipping lines.

The company added that he will also play a ”vital” role in leveraging Peel Ports’ position as an integral part of UK and Ireland supply chains, helping to develop more sustainable and reliable supply chain solutions.

David Huck, Peel Ports Group chief operating officer, said: “Marcus’ experience in the global container shipping and logistics industry is second to none, while his knowledge and results-driven approach will play a vital role as we look to strengthen our operations internationally.

“In the year ahead, our main aim is to further support cargo owners, strengthen our relationships with global shipping lines and importers, and continue to grow our presence as the UK’s second largest port operator. Marcus will play a crucial role in achieving this.”

Peel Ports said Connelly’s appointment signals its commitment to working closer with shipping lines and cargo owners, after the recent appointment of former B&M retail head of supply chain, Jerome Wildsmith, as BCO sales manager, late last year.

Huck said: “More effective sea transport and shipping routes will offer endless opportunities for vast improvements for cargo owners, including a reduction of cost, carbon and congestion, with clear benefits.

“Currently, 90% of deep-sea containerised cargo comes into southern UK ports, yet 60% of these are destined for the North. Quite simply, this makes very little sense.

“Marcus will use his new position to help importers better leverage the Port of Liverpool’s close proximity to major distribution centres in the North, improving operational efficiencies across the supply chain.”