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Liverpool Cruise Terminal receives major boost

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Ltd., a subsidiary of Peel Ports Group, and Global Ports Holding Plc (GPH), the largest independent cruise port operator in the world, have signed a 50-year contract to operate services at Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

GPH intends to invest up to £25 million in the terminal’s infrastructure, doubling its operations and maximising the port’s future potential, subject to the granting of the required permits and licences.

A new floating pontoon will be added as part of the investment, increasing capacity and enabling the simultaneous berthing of two 300-metre ships and up to 7,000 passengers per day.

Along with improving the passenger experience, the new terminal building that will be built thanks to the funding infusion will offer waterfront dining and shopping options that will appeal to both locals and cruise passengers.

Liverpool City Council, which this week officially surrendered the lease of the award-winning operation it established and has managed since 2007, enabled the historic deal.

The Council decided to return the lease to Peel Ports Group in order to guarantee the multimillion-pound upgrade of the cruise facility. More than 800 ships and one million passengers have arrived in the city over the past 16 years, bringing in over £110 million for the visitor economy.

The historic agreement was signed by GPH in recognition of Liverpool’s importance as a tourist destination and its prime position to take part in the expanding cruise markets in Northern Europe, the British Isles, and Ireland, all of which have the potential to see rapid increases in passenger numbers.

It is believed that this connectivity will offer significant potential for the port to act as a gateway to the Northern European and round-Britain cruise markets for American and European passengers, as well as being well-positioned to act as a home port for the domestic passenger market. There are two major international airports within an hour’s drive of the cruise facility.

Over 186,000 passengers and 102 cruise ships visited Liverpool in 2023 alone. It is anticipated that once the new infrastructure projects are finished, this will rise to more than 200,000 passengers annually in 2024 and eventually surpass 300,000.

Currently employed by Liverpool City Council, the Cruise Liverpool team has successfully managed the terminal’s day-to-day operations for the previous 17 years. Some of the current team members and service providers will support GPH as it significantly expands operations under a service agreement between the Council and GPH.

The naming ceremony for Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne, on Monday, June 3, will be the highlight of the team’s preparations for the upcoming cruise season.

Andrew Lewis, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, said:

“Liverpool City Council is delighted to have helped enable this historic agreement between Peel Ports and Global Ports Holdings Plc.

Responsibility for Liverpool’s cruise operations now passes to a world-leading operator, with ambitious plans to grow Liverpool’s position as an excellent cruise and tourism destination. 

We look forward to working closely with GPH to support their ambitions, and to extending a warm welcome to many more visitors to Liverpool.”

Mehmet Kutman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Global Ports Holding Plc said:

“The addition of Liverpool Cruise Port, our first cruise port in the British Isles, to our network marks another important milestone in GPH’s ongoing development and growth.

“I would like to thank Liverpool City Council and Peel Ports Group for their support throughout the process. Liverpool boasts a rich maritime heritage, and the GPH team looks forward to working with all stakeholders to further enhance the success of this remarkable destination.”

David Huck, Chief Operating Officer at Peel Ports Group said:

“We are proud to be embarking on a new strategic partnership with Global Ports Holding as it takes over operations at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

“Liverpool City Council’s stewardship of the Terminal over the last two decades has truly transformed Liverpool into a thriving cruise tourism destination. We see this new chapter as an opportunity for us to build upon that legacy.

“We look forward to making that vision a reality, alongside GPH through a strategic partnership and our combined maritime and cruise expertise.”


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