They are tasked with producing a robust, fully costed plan for a terminal capable of handling 3,600 embarking and disembarking passengers with baggage—three times 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.
The former Princes Jetty at Princes Parade, close to the landing stage, is preferred location and a potentially suitable site.
Cunard, which describes the city as its spiritual home, has said the development could lead to the reintroduction of its trans-Atlantic crossings from Liverpool, which last took place regularly in 1968.
Plans for a terminal follow a doubling in the number of vessels visiting Liverpool since it became a turnaround facility in 2012—up from 31 to 61. Passenger numbers are up from 38,656 four years ago to an expected 86,365 this year.
'I am determined to see huge continued growth in the cruise liner industry in Liverpool. To do that we need a permanent building to replace the facility we have at the moment which has limited space,' Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said.
The detailed plans, he added, 'will give us a clear picture of how much of a commitment we are going to have to make.'
Garry Banks, director of Arup and project director for the team, expressed delight in being awarded the contract. 'We’re a Liverpool-based team and it really helps that we understand the strategic context of this project and its importance to the city region economy,' he said.
'The current facility has delivered an award-winning service and it’s now our challenge to look at how we can deliver a permanent cruise terminal design that ensures Liverpool can continue to deliver an award-winning cruise experience and capitalise on this growing sector whilst accommodating larger ships with greater passenger turnaround,' Banks said.
The cruise terminal is estimated to have generated £7m for the city’s visitor economy last year, up from £1.3m when it was a port of call destination.
In May 2015, the Cunard fleet arrived on the River Mersey, creating a Three Queens spectacle and event that was seen by more than a million people lining both sides of the waterfront.
Liverpool was named the UK’s best port of call for two years running in 2013 and 2014 and scooped 'Destination of the Year' in the Seatrade Cruise Awards in September 2015.
Later this year, Disney Cruise Line will visiting Britain for the first time and Liverpool is one of just two English destinations in the itinerary.
'We know there is an appetite from the cruise lines to come to Liverpool and it is vital that we give passengers the best experience that we can. A larger, permanent facility would enable us to do that,' said Assistant Mayor and Cabinet member for culture, Councillor Wendy Simon.
Work will be completed on the study by the end of June and a final decision taken over the project later in the year.