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Liverpool cruise operations set for major expansion with £25M investment

2 weeks ago

Liverpool cruise operations set for major expansion with £25M investment
Liverpool Cruise Port

Liverpool cruise operations are set for a significant transformation as Global Ports Holding Plc (GPH), the world’s largest independent cruise port operator, signs a monumental 50-year agreement with Peel Ports Group’s subsidiary, The Mersey Docks And Harbour Company Ltd, to operate services at Liverpool Cruise Port.

Subject to the necessary permits and licenses, GPH plans to inject up to £25 million into the infrastructure at Liverpool Cruise Port, doubling its operations and unlocking its future potential as a key tourism hub.

This substantial investment will include the addition of a new floating pontoon, boosting capacity and enabling the simultaneous berthing of two 300-metre ships, accommodating up to 7,000 passengers per day.

The funding will see the construction of a new terminal building, aimed at enhancing passenger experience and offering waterfront retail and hospitality amenities catering not only to cruise travellers but also to local tourists and residents.

Liverpool Cruise Terminal - The Guide Liverpool Cruise Liverpool
Liverpool Cruise Terminal – The Guide Liverpool Cruise Liverpool

This historic deal, enabled by Liverpool City Council, signifies the end of its tenure managing the award-winning operation that was established in 2007.

The decision to hand back the facility to Peel Ports Group, was made by the Council to ensure the multi-million-pound upgrade of the cruise facility, which, over the last 16 years has welcomed more than 800 vessels and 1 million passengers, generating more than £110m to the city’s visitor economy.

GPH signed the historic deal in recognition of Liverpool as a key location for tourism, well positioned to participate in the growing Northern European, British and Irish cruise markets with the potential for significant growth in passenger volumes.

With two major international airports within an hour’s drive of the cruise facility, it is felt this connectivity provides 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.

In 2023 alone, Liverpool welcomed 102 cruise ships and over 186,000 passengers. This is expected to increase to over 200,000 passengers in 2024 and exceed 300,000 per annum once the new infrastructure works are completed.

The Three Queens helped celebrate Cunard's anniversary in 2015.
The Three Queens helped celebrate Cunard’s anniversary in 2015. Picture – Liverpool Cruise Terminal

Liverpool City Council currently employs the Cruise Liverpool team which has provided successful day-to-day management of the Terminal for the past 17 years.

Under a service agreement between the Council and GPH, some of the existing team members and service providers will continue to support GPH as it significantly expands operations.

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

“The addition of the 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.”

Cruise Terminal
Credit: Stratus Imagery

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 Liverpool Cruise Port.

“Liverpool City Council’s stewardship of the port over the last two decades has truly transformed the City 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.”

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

“Liverpool City Council is delighted to have helped enable this historic agreement between Peel Ports Group 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.”

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