Ongoing strike action at the port of Liverpool will hit the region’s economy and affect businesses beyond the dock gates, according to the chief executive at Peel Ports Group.

David Huck said the industrial action among port operatives and maintenance engineers was trashing many of the gains the city’s economy had made over the last 20 years.

“When we invested in Liverpool2, the port’s deep-sea container terminal, we recognised that for the hundreds of jobs we create, thousands more are created in the wider logistics and maritime sectors across the city region,” he said.

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“We can also see that many other businesses derive value from the efficiency of using a strong and reliable port like Liverpool.

“That’s why this dispute is damaging not only for us, but it is bad for business, jobs and the city’s economy.”

Huck said Peel Ports had worked hard to resolve “legacy issues” that had damaged Liverpool’s reputation in order to convince companies to move their cargo to Liverpool, but that a prolonged dispute would deter investors and cargo owners from using the local supply chain.

Unite said it had rejected a 7% pay offer by the port as it amounted to a pay cut and it added that the workforce was also striking in protest at the failure by the port operator to honour a 2021 pay agreement.