Merseyside-based Typhoo is switching the port it uses to bring tea into the UK, from Felixstowe to Liverpool.
Typhoo said that the nearby Port of Liverpool would become the entry point for all its tea shipments within the next three to four years.
The move would enable it to significantly reduce its carbon emissions, it claimed, estimating that by slashing road miles, it would save about 420kg of carbon per container.
Using Liverpool would also boost the local economy, added Typhoo head of marketing Chris Hall. “It has a big positive impact, not just in terms of carbon but also in reducing congestion and bringing jobs to the local area,” he said.
Felixstowe had been a legacy of its previous owner, Premier Foods, which used ports and distribution hubs further south, said Typhoo.
Acquired by Premier in 1990 and sold to current Indian owner Apeejay Surrendra Group in 2005, Typhoo said it had decided to switch to Liverpool in 2010 after conducting research into how to reduce its environmental footprint.
This work had also led to the launch of its eco-refill packs in 2011, which weigh 92% less than its usual cardboard boxes.
The company has so far increased the volume of tea coming through Liverpool to 40%-50%.
Switching ports took time because it had to persuade shipping lines and suppliers to make the change, it said.
However, significant investment in the expansion of Liverpool docks would make it easier to achieve its goal of bringing in 100% of its tea - which comes largely from Africa - via the port within the target time frame.
Under-investment in the port facilities in the north of England in the 1970s is one of the main reasons containers destined for the north of the country typically arrive in southern ports.