Plans to construct a permanent cruise terminal in Liverpool are to be assessed by Liverpool City Council as cruise calls continue to rise.
Currently operating out of a purpose-built marquee, Liverpool Cruise Terminal has seen cruise calls double in the past four years from 31 visits a year to 61, since it became a turnaround port in 2012. In 2015, the port handled over 86,000 passengers, compared to just over 27,000 in 2011.
The local council has identified the former Princes Jetty at Princes Parade, close to the landing stage, as its preferred location and a potentially suitable site.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “The temporary cruise liner building has been a tremendous success and served us well, but a city of Liverpool’s standing and ambition needs a permanent building if we are to continue the growth we’ve seen in recent years. It’s always been my ambition to develop an iconic terminal which makes Liverpool a world-class destination for cruise liners.”
The council is to appoint advisors to carry out an in-depth study into the design and cost of constructing a terminal capable of handling 3,600 embarking and disembarking passengers with baggage – twice as many as the existing facility. The site would include passport control, passenger lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank, vehicle pick up point, coach layover area and a car park.
Anderson continued, stating: “What we are doing now is drawing up detailed plans which will give us a clear picture of the costs and then enable us to make a decision as to whether to proceed.
“Clearly there will be a cost to the construction of the facility, but this will be offset by the hugely beneficial economic impact that passengers have when they spend money during their stay.
“There is still lots of work to do before we can give any scheme the green light, but the fact that we have identified a potential site which we are seriously looking at shows the importance we attach to the cruise market.”
The cruise terminal is estimated to have generated £7 million for the city’s visitor economy last year, up from £1.3 million when it was a port of call destination.
Cunard Line has said the development could lead to the reintroduction of its transatlantic crossings from Liverpool, which last took place regularly in 1968.
Cunard’s Director, Angus Struthers, explained: “Liverpool will forever be Cunard’s spiritual home, and, as the world witnessed with the Three Queens spectacular last May, the city’s pride in this association, and the level of interest in Cunard across the whole North West of England, remains strong.
“Though Southampton will remain Cunard’s homeport, we look forward to working with Liverpool to see how we can develop a great experience for our guests. In particular, we will be looking at how we might be able to incorporate Liverpool into Queen Mary 2’s iconic transatlantic crossings.”
A company is expected to be appointed to carry out the feasibility study in March, with work completed in the summer and a final decision taken over the project later in the year.