Mayor Steve Rotheram announced that the Liverpool City Region will build the first new Mersey Ferry in over 60 years.
Following more than a year of detailed negotiations, the Combined Authority and Cammell Laird have reached an agreement that will see the new vessel built entirely at the firm’s Birkenhead shipyard.
The Mayor, who was joined by engineering apprentices as he signed the contract, said the multimillion-pound project would “guarantee the future of the iconic Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey for generations to come.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:
“It’s always been my ambition to build our new ferry here in the Liverpool City Region, ensuring that we can retain the well-paid jobs and training opportunities it will create for local people. That’s why we’ve taken our time, working in partnership with trade unions, to make sure this doesn’t just deliver best value for money – but best value for our residents too.
“It has taken a Herculean effort to reach this agreement that will bring the first new ferry to the Mersey in over 60 years – that’s before Gerry and the Pacemakers even recorded the song that would help make them world famous!
“Hundreds of thousands of people, both from the region and visitors from further afield, use the Mersey Ferries every year – but the current vessels are more and more difficult to maintain. With this investment we will guarantee the future of the iconic Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey for generations to come.”
The new ferry, as previously announced, will be designed to provide passengers with greater comfort, accessibility, and an improved experience. There are also plans to improve the performance and reliability of one of the existing vessels.
The Combined Authority and Cammell Laird will now collaborate closely to finalise the design and construction schedule.
Leader of Wirral Council, Cllr Paul Stuart, said:
“Given their extensive maritime legacy and significant contributions to our local economy over the years, the decision to construct the next Mersey Ferry at Cammell Laird is perfect.
“With Cammell Laird building the new ferry in Birkenhead, we uphold our borough’s proud maritime heritage and ensure that the economic benefits of the ferry’s construction remain within our community, benefiting our workers, local businesses, and suppliers.”
Cammell Laird has a long history with Mersey Ferries, having built 15 of the vessels dating back to 1836 and contributing to the current fleet’s upkeep.
David McGinley, Chief Executive of APCL Group, said:
“We have always been a global business with a local heart, so it’s fitting that two things which are closely associated with the Mersey – ferries and Cammell Laird – should come together for this latest milestone in the rich maritime heritage of the area.
“It’s a point of pride that we built the last Mersey ferry to enter service and will be doing so again, cementing our place both in the rich history of the Mersey, but equally, in its future too.
“Our apprentices will be working on this project alongside the rest of our highly skilled workforce, and I know this project is something they’ll be equally proud to be involved in.”
The Combined Authority’s latest investments in Mersey Ferries include the construction of a new ferry and upgrades to one of the existing vessels, as well as multimillion-pound upgrades to Seacombe Ferry Terminal and funding for the Eureka! Science + Discovery attraction.