Confirmed 2021 ship arrivals currently total 107.
A report to the council to be considered next week says moving to the next phase of the proposed development is paused.
'Liverpool City Council welcomes the decision to grant a Harbour Revision Order for the city’s new cruise terminal, however, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the council is currently assessing timescales for taking this scheme forward to the next stage but remains committed to the cruise terminal scheme,' the report to a council select committee states.
Design rendered out of date by new COVID protocols
Angie Redhead, head of city assets, told Seatrade the design tabled for the new terminal has been rendered out of date by new COVID-19 protocols. She also cited the flexibility of being able to use other council-owned and operated sites to support passenger handling.
Currently all passenger coronavirus testing and baggage handling is being carried out away from the existing terminal in a remote satellite operation elsewhere on Liverpool waterfront, at the City’s Arena and Convention Centre, with passenger coach transfer between sites in secure bubbles.
'We definitely want to watch this space and see what recovery really looks like before we put any spades in the ground,' Redhead told Seatrade.
Cruise Liverpool is currently handling turnaround for MSC, Disney and Fred.Olsen as well as a host of operators visiting in transit.
'But equally, we have just had a plan that has worked like a dream and the solution might not necessarily be at Princes Parade [the location of the existing terminal],' she added.
Wait to see what recovery looks like
'All of the options are still on the table. That is where we are at this moment in time. Let’s observe all the industry analysis. It will take about two years to recover, so I think we need to wait that length of time to see what recovery looks like, certainly for turnaround because that is the only reason that we are building it, to secure turnaround. If we had a commitment from somebody like MSC, who said "we have loved our experience in Liverpool and we want to sail regularly from here," then that’s a whole different spin on it, whereas at the moment it is quite speculative whether we will actually have a customer.
'Our original plans for that building are already outdated. There definitely needs to be a review, but I think what we have proved in the interim is that we have got something that we can deliver on right now anyway.'
City officials point out that the mandatory Harbour Revision Order permitting the development and secured from the UK government is valid for 10 years. 'There’s no rush. We can wait to see how the industry recovers,' said a City Hall insider.