Liverpool waterfront, c Phil Kiel on Unsplash

GPH has committed up to £25m to improve the port's infrastructure and expand its capacity. Credit: Phil Kiel on Unsplash

New Liverpool cruise terminal back on course

Global Port Holdings has signed a 50-year lease for the port, agreeing to construct a new terminal building in the process.

Established in 2004, GPH bills itself as the world’s largest cruise port operator. The company, which has offices in London, Istanbul, and Barcelona, operates 30 cruise ports in 17 countries.

Liverpool Cruise Port marks the company’s first foray into the British Isles.

After signing its lease deal with Peel Ports Group subsidiary The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, GPH committed up to £25m for improving the infrastructure at the port.

This will include installing an additional floating pontoon. This pontoon would allow for two 300-metre ships to berth at the same time, bringing in up to 7,000 passengers.

GPH said the money would also go towards a new terminal building that would offer space for retail and hospitality.

This terminal will be different than the 108,000 sq ft version approved in 2018, according to GPH. Those plans had a price tag of just shy of £90m as of 2023. Designed by Stride Treglown, that terminal had been priced at £50m but inflation, rising costs, and the pandemic had led to the increased financial requirement.

This newer terminal, which will require planning permission, would be able to be delivered for less than £25m.

GPH investment in Liverpool Cruise Port is projected to grow the number of cruise passengers from the 186,000 that passed through in 2023 to around 300,000 a year after the works complete.

“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,” said Mehmet Kutman, the company’s chairman and chief executive.

Peel Ports Group's David Huck, Global Investment Holding's Mehmet Ali Deniz, Liverpool City Council's Andrew Lewis, Global Ports Holding's Stephen Xuereb, p Big Partnership

Peel Ports Group’s David Huck, Global Investment Holdings’ Mehmet Ali Deniz, Liverpool City Council’s Andrew Lewis, and Global Ports Holdings’ Stephen Xuereb have announced a £25m investment into the port’s infrastructure. Credit: via Big Partnership

GPH takes over the port lease from Liverpool City Council, which announced its intention to pull out of the terminal last year. The city council had run the port since 2007.

Upon announcing the city council’s intention to pull out of the terminal, Cllr Nick Small, cabinet member for growth and economy, said the local authority had achieved its goals for the port. Since the council took the lease, the cruise terminal has generated more than £110m to the city’s visitor economy.

“We’ve gone from a situation of having no cruise industry in Liverpool to the success we have now,” he told reporters.

Small also said: “What we want to do is put investment in, pump, prime, and develop a sector and move on and put investment into whatever the next thing is going to be that create jobs.”

In the wake of the GPH announcement, Liverpool City Council chief executive Andrew Lewis welcomed the cruise operator to Liverpool.

“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,” he said.

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

David Huck, Peel Ports Group’s chief operating officer, paid homage to the city council’s work at the cruise terminal.

“Liverpool City Council’s stewardship of the port over the last two decades has truly transformed the city into a thriving cruise tourism destination,” Huck said. “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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“Established in 2024, GBH bills itself as the world’s largest cruise port operator.”

They seem to have achieved a lot in 3 months or so!

By Dan W

    An unfortunate typo! 2004 is the correct date. I’ve fixed the story accordingly, thanks for catching.

    By Julia Hatmaker

First, the cruise terminal, then King Edward industrial estate: amazing what progress can be made when the Council decide to step out of the way and let the private sector get on with it.
Credit where it’s due: well done, LCC.

By Anonymous

This is fantastic news, this will have a tremendous impact on the cruise sector in Liverpool and I am positive it will bring more employment and investment opportunities.

By Liverpolitis

This is just an idea and I don’t expect it to happen but here goes: why not construct a building where the ground floor is the designated cruise terminal and the above floors can be either a hotel or offices. GPH could then lease the ground floor area paying an annual rent to the building owners. Thus utilising the limited space available at Princess Dock. Just an idea.

By David

If this comes to fruition then there is a great chance we will see Cunard using one of their liners for New York sailings or other cruises to the Americas. This would be very popular for Liverpool and Manchester passengers who currently have to trail to Southampton to commence their cruise journey.

By Anonymous

Liverpool home port for cruise ships: Very Good.
Cunard line Liverpool to New York to Liverpool: Very Good.
Millions of pounds boost for the economy: Very Good.
Get some levelling up funds invested in all these projects.
Hotel on river-front for passengers. Very Good.

By Anonymous

I would love to travel from Liverpool across the pond instead of going from Southampton, however there are very real and expensive reasons why they don’t anymore.

By Anonymous

I have posted a few negative comments on how LCC have failed to capitalise on the huge potential this City has to offer. So I am over the moon to read that they have walked away from this particular venture. It’s a tentative step forward but a very positive one to say the least. I assume once GPH realise the true potential this City can offer the cruise industry then further investment will follow. Then maybe we can expect to see a cruise terminal that would ultimately compliment the pier head water front. Bring it on, can’t wait.

By Stephen Hart

Brilliant news again

By Anonymous

Hopefully the multi storey car park idea on Great Howard Street can now be revisited too. Between cruise passengers and Bramley Moore visitors I view it as a vital development. Maybe the Tobacco Warehouse developers could chip in as well, what with sales apparently being slow due to lack of decent parking nearby.

By Anonymous

Although less investment than originally proposed ( suspect it might mean reduced quality of the terminal building) people who like cruising will welcome avoiding the long long trip to Southampton. Good deal by city council reducing their costs but bringing in more investment

By George

why should northern cruise cliants have to travel to southampton for cruises when more cruise ships can depart from liverpool making cruising much easy for northern people

By Anonymous

Fantastic news

By John Edwards

The company renovated the Nassau port in 2023 by investing 350 million dollars. Took over the port of San Juan in 2024. It will cost $187 million in renovations for San Juan. More important than the terminal building is getting more passengers to come to Liverpool. The company will build a new pier to attract more passengers. Global Ports Company controls approximately 15% of the world cruise network. Thanks to its connections, more passengers will come. The new terminal building that the company will build will not be as flashy as the old project. But I think increasing the number of passengers is more important. The terminal building in the old project meant investing unnecessary money with this number of piers.

By Ramazan Yörük

The previous plan by the Council to place a new terminal building in the river on the site of the old jetty would have proved very costly and probably based on emotion. The new outline proposal by GPH would see the terminal on land, and if similar to it’s Barcelona Terminal it would leave ample room for a multi storey hotel next door.
As regards the old wooden jetty it’s underlying structure is still sound and it could be refurbished as a promenade with cafes and bars, which I think would prove highly popular.

By Anonymous

Totally brilliant news about GPH taking over the cruise terminal but can I make a little plea and that is that when the new terminal is built could GPH (Global Port Holdings) find or make space in it for an exhibition showing/detailing some of the history of passenger shipping through the port. I feel sure that this would prove to be a great attraction and maybe even make the exhibition an annex of the Maritime Museum! I feel it would certainly grab the attention of those arriving for or leaving from a cruise and yes maybe even the general public if they were allowed in the terminal. Those of us whose relatives worked on ‘the liners’ would really appreciate it and it would be a great addition to the waterfront.

By Brendan R

Though we have seen little detail, one possibility is to build the new terminal where the current marshalling point is for the IoM ferry, that would then allow direct access onto the landing stage for passengers and supply vehicles via the current bridge. This then would free up the whole of the current area currently used by the tented cruise terminal, and thus make the plot available for hotel, office, or residential development.

By Anonymous

Liverpool to NY i cant wait

By Anonymous

I’m glad Liverpool hasn’t fallen for these conspiracy theories

By Anonymous

All systems going for Liverpool now about time.

By Anonymous

Global ports should approach Paul and Ringo for some investment in the new terminal with a Beatles theme and possibly name the Terminal after one of there songs they are known the world over maybe incorporate a guitar and drumps for the design of the terminal they could do something really exciting here .

By Paul

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