Expansion of Liverpool cruise port unveiled with £25m investment plan

A 50-year deal has been agreed which will see £25 million pumped in to expand Liverpool cruise port.

International operator Global Ports Holding (GPH) expects to take over operations of the port this month, subject to the granting of permits and licenses. 

The company revealed plans to invest up to £25 million in the port’s infrastructure, designed to act “as a catalyst to unlock the future potential”. 

The investment will include the addition of a new floating dock that will increase capacity and allow for the simultaneous berthing of two 300-metre ships and more than 7,000 passengers a day. 

The construction of a new terminal building “will enhance the passenger experience and provide waterfront retail and hospitality offerings that will cater not just to cruise travellers, but also to local tourists and residents”.

The port handled 102 cruise ships and more than 186,000 passengers in 2023. 

This is expected to increase to more than 200,000 passengers in 2024 and exceed 300,000 a year once the infrastructure works are completed.

GPH added: “Liverpool cruise port has the potential for significant growth in passenger volumes. However, the port is currently unable to satisfy demand on some days due to berthing and infrastructure restrictions.

“Liverpool cruise port is well-positioned to participate in the growing northern European and British and Irish cruise markets. 

“It has good airport connectivity, with two international airports within an hour’s drive, providing significant potential 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.

“The city of Liverpool is one of the UK’s most visited cities, offering tourists significant opportunities to engage in the arts, especially music, architecture and, of course, its historic football teams.”

The deal has been secured by GPH with Peel Ports Group’s subsidiary, the Mersey Docks and Harbour company.

GPH will pay certain upfront charges and annual charges, the terms of which are confidential, as part of the agreement, the company said.

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

Some of the existing team and service providers will continue to support the expanded operations under a service agreement between the council and GPH, a statement said.

Liverpool City Council chief executive Andrew Lewis added: “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.”

Peel Ports Group chief operating officer David Huck 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.”

GPH chief executive Mehmet Kutman 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.

“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.”

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