Global Ports Holding signs 50-year Liverpool Cruise deal

London-listed Global Ports Holding plc (GPH), the world’s largest independent cruise port operator, announced it has signed a 50-year agreement with Peel Ports Group subsidiary, The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Ltd, to operate cruise services at Liverpool Cruise Port.

Recognizing the port’s immense potential, GPH plans to invest up to £25 million into infrastructure
enhancements, subject to the granting of the appropriate permits and licenses,” said GPH.

“This 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 over 7,000 passengers a day.

“This investment will also see the construction of a new terminal building that will enhance the passenger experience at the port, featuring waterfront retail and hospitality offerings that will cater not just to cruise passengers, but also to land-based visitors and local residents.

“In 2023 alone, Liverpool Cruise Port welcomed 102 cruise ships and over 186,000 passengers, with this number expected to increase to over 200,000 passengers in 2024.

“Upon completion of infrastructure upgrades, annual passenger numbers are anticipated to surpass 300,000, signalling a promising trajectory for the port’s future.”

GPH CEO Mehmet Kutman said: “The addition of 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.

“I would like to thank Liverpool City Council and Peel Ports for their support throughout the process. 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.”

Peel Ports Group Chief Operating Officer David Huck said: “We are proud to be embarking on a new strategic partnership with Global Ports Holding (GPH) as it takes over operations at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal.

“Liverpool City Council’s stewardship of the Terminal 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 honour that legacy.

“We look forward to making that vision a reality alongside GPH through a strategic partnership and our combined maritime and cruise expertise, as well as to exploring other potential opportunities as part of the wider Peel Ports Group portfolio.”

Liverpool City Council CEO Andrew Lewis said: “Liverpool City Council is delighted to have helped enable this historic agreement between Peel Ports and Global Ports Holdings plc.

“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 welcome to many more visitors to Liverpool.”

In a stock exchange statement, GPH said: “As part of this agreement, GPH will pay certain upfront charges, and (in certain circumstances) annual charges, in each case, the terms of which are confidential.

“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.

“Subject to the granting of the appropriate permits and licenses, GPH plans to invest up to £25 million in the ports infrastructure, which all stakeholders believe should act as a catalyst to unlock the future potential.”