Cruise terminal battle turns nasty

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SO_TERM.jpgCompetition from Liverpool is being blamed for the decision to put plans for a £30 million fifth cruise terminal at Southampton on hold for at least a year.
The Government’s decision to open up consultation on Liverpool’s plans to expand its own terminal – built with help from public money – has brought cries of “foul” from the south coast city, one of the busiest cruise ports in Europe.
Southampton port director Doug Morrison told his local paper, the Daily Echo: “When the competition is not fair you have to ask why you would invest another £30 million. If the cruise terminal business is allowed to go north, you would have to question whether it is necessary and essential to build a fifth terminal.”
Liverpool needs to add baggage-handling facilities to its terminal on the Mersey, and a council spokesman told the Daily Post: “We are clear the growth in the cruise market means we will not take trade away from other ports, and are confident of a resolution satisfying everyone.”
The Department for Trade has called for the 10-week consultation period, which runs until September 15. Southampton, claiming unfair competition, has demanded that Liverpool repay £17.8 million in grants from the government and the European Union which Liverpool received. The northern port has offered to repay £5.3 million over 15 years.
The north-south battle may be growing more acrimonious, but it’s hardly an equal contest – Southampton welcomes more than 300 cruise ship calls every year and counts its passengers in millions. The sight of a cruise ship in the Mersey is still only occasional, and at least one line has announced plans to pull out altogether because of the poor facilities.
FOOTNOTE: The Liverpool Daily Post would do its city’s cause more good if it did not have a headline which refers to “post bosses” instead of “port bosses” and also mis-spells the word politicians as “poiliticians.”

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:03+00:00 4 August 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|0 Comments

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John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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