In October 2007, Tesco became the first major retailer to start transporting wine by canal – the Manchester Ship Canal to be exact.
Barges are used to ferry bulk containers (holding 24,000 litres) of wine between Liverpool and Manchester along the Ship Canal that starts at Eastham, Wirral, where locks are used to seal off the tidal estuary of the River Mersey. Using the canal enables Tesco to take 50 lorries off the road every week, saving almost 700,000 road miles each year and cuts carbon emissions by 80%.
In Victorian times, wine from Europe would arrive at Liverpool in wooden barrels and be transported along Britain’s canal network. Today, the wine arriving by sea at Liverpool comes from Australia, California, Chile and Argentina.
The wine is transported along the 40 mile canal three times a week from Eastham to a bottling plant near Manchester.