The minister, who has responsibility for the strategic roads network and ports, received a tour of the site during a visit to the city today (16 May) to discuss prospective improvements to the major A5036 corridor used by hauliers calling at the Port of Liverpool.
A new deep water container terminal, Liverpool2 aims to be the UK's central gateway, accommodating direct global services to the heart of the UK.
Speaking during the tour, Jones said: “The container shipping industry plays a vital role in the UK’s economy, whether putting goods on shop shelves or in helping UK businesses to manufacture and export their products. It is also vital to job creation and skills development in the region.
“We will do everything possible to support the continued growth that is essential to our economic performance and international competitiveness.
“That’s why we have committed £13bn to creating a more efficient and integrated transport network across the north.”
Warren Marshall, group planning director of Peel Ports, added: “The UK also under-uses short-sea shipping, coastal and inland waterway freight services, a sector in which Peel Ports is a leader, especially with the Manchester Ship Canal.
“There are significant opportunities for cost efficiencies and environmental savings and we are supporting the Freight Transport Association in encouraging shippers to look at these options.
“The government has shown a strong interest in Liverpool2 throughout the development, recognising its importance as a key cargo gateway in a competitive global environment.
“We were honoured to receive a visit from the minister to show him how we are adding to the UK’s trading infrastructure through our investment and contributing to the government’s Northern Powerhouse initiative.
“We also welcome his support for improvements to the transport network that will help ensure the local economy can continue to benefit from the port in the decades to come.”
Liverpool2 is to have a phased opening, with marine trials beginning soon and other elements of the semi-automated terminal coming online throughout Q2 of 2016.