Fred Olsen Quits Liverpool

I’m from Liverpool, so you would expect me to say this is terrible news, wrong, I hope this withdrawal should stop the politics of the Liverpool Cruise problem and find a solution.

The excellent http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/captain-greybeard/ has kindly pointed out that Fred Olsen has quit Liverpool, with Marketing Director Nigel Lingard quoted as saying ‘They still haven’t got their act together, so we are pulling out’. Not really a good sign for the port.

For those not in the know, Liverpool received EU funding to develop a £19 cruise berth, originally intended for day visits by vessels only. Legally only day visits are allowed, not full turn around facilities such as baggage handling and customs, as that would mean the EU funding was unfair state aid.

Southampton, the UK’s largest Cruise port, rightly so, has objected to this unfair state aid.
This has meant cruise ships requiring full turnaround facilities have had to use Langton Dock, a selection of Portacabins next to a scrap mound, not as idyllic as the waterfront cruise berth, nor as central. The issue has been followed by the local news papers in both Southampton and Liverpool.

Now hopefully, Fred Olsen will have opened the eyes of the city leaders who will try to tackle the problem and finish the problem once and for all. Previously it had been mentioned that Fred Olsens calls at Liverpool had provided £4m to the local economy, surely in the times we are in this is not something to be throwing away. However since Thomson Cruises had previously wanted to base a vessel in the city, way back in 2008, but dropped the plans when it emerged it would not be allowed to use the new cruise berth, estimates say this was worth £4.5million to the local economy.

In nearly three years this problem has sucked £8.5million out of the local economy, and that is of lost Business to rivals, not even Business which we could have gained from operating as the full terminal. While I understand things take time, surely this issue should be resolved nearly three years on.

In the rise of ‘ex-UK’ cruises, with the increasing cost of flying, surely Liverpool is missing out too much, Cruise schedules for the next few years are being set, and it will take years to get Liverpool involved if any more time is wasted.

So is this a £19,000,000 white elephant? Let us Know! Comment, Twitter, Facebook. 😀

Thanks,
Liam

Links:
Liverpool Daily Post Coverage of the CRUISE WAR!
http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-news/get-on-board/

Thomson Withdrawal back in 2008
http://blogs.travelweekly.co.uk/blogs/cruise-lines/2008/11/thomson-abandons-liverpool.html

The Southampton View
http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/8937861.City_must_pay_back_public_money_in__cruise_war_/