Southampton cheers as Liverpool cruise plans are back to square one

//Southampton cheers as Liverpool cruise plans are back to square one

mersey.JPGThere are celebrations in Southampton at the news that a rival city’s plans to cash in on the cruising boom have taken another knock.
Liverpool received £18 million in aid from the Government and Europe to develop its Pier Head cruise terminal, on condition it was used only for day visits rather than more lucrative turnaround business, with passengers embarking and disembarking at the start and end of a voyage.
An unseemly battle has been raging over the Mersey port’s plans to upgrade the new facilities so it can move turnaround trade from the industrial backwater of Langton Dock which is unpopular with cruise lines and their passengers. Southampton and other established UK ports argued it was wrong for public money to be used to help a commercial enterprise.
Liverpool offered to repay £5.3 million of the aid it received but Southampton still argued they would be faced with unfair competition.
A government inquiry ensued, and now shipping minister Mike Penning has ruled against Liverpool, saying there are “persuasive arguments that this level of repayment would be insufficient to reflect the adverse impact on competition with other ports.
“I therefore intend shortly to seek independent advice on a more appropriate figure.”
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Capt Jimmy Chestnutt welcomed the decision, saying: “Protesters from cruise ports across the country will be delighted to hear the government now agrees that the proposal as it stands is unfair and damaging to the cruise industry.”
Liverpool City Council leader Joe Anderson says the offer to repay £5.3m was “fair and reasonable” and he welcomed the independent review proposed by the government.
But he accepted that the city was “back to square one” in its bid to bring more cruise business to Merseyside.
I can’t help thinking that the whole business is a bit of a storm in a teacup. Liverpool has said it had struck deals for 12 cruise ships to embark cruises during the summer – hardly enough to make a dent in Southampton’s trade, which adds up to 350 ships a year and 70 per cent of all UK cruise business.
I look forward now to seeing whether Southampton will reinstate plans for a £30 million fifth cruise terminal (below) which were put on hold until the Liverpool dispute was resolved.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:55+00:00 27 January 2012|Cruise News|4 Comments

About the Author:

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


  1. Bill Johnson 30 January 2012 at 11:37 am - Reply

    As a regular cruiser I am getting a bit fed up with having to travel to Southampton and back to the extent that I will not be cruising this year. Liverpool is only half an hour from me and I would be far more likely to travel from there. It would benefit the cruise industry without affecting Southampton at all.

  2. Thoresen 3 February 2012 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Liverpool have had the last laugh after all!
    Southampton will regret having taken such an aggressive stance. Unable to think through the consequences……. a bit like Southampton MP Chris Hulne and his wife!

  3. Maynard 4 February 2012 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    It’s amazing the support Liverpool is getting from cruise customers – the people really want this to happen because it doesn’t makes sense for anyone north of Birmingham to have to travel so far to embark on a cruise.

  4. Alex 30 March 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad Liverpool have been found to have not breached EU rules. I hate travelling to Southampton from manchester, it’s a bloody faff!
    Hooray for commonersense prevailing!

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