Southampton has paused the building of Cruise Terminal 5 for at least a year, as it waits for the outcome of Liverpool’s Cruise Terminal bid. This can only be seen as an attempt to highlight the belief that state aid to Liverpool distorts competition and ruins free-enterprise. This is based on the currently untested assumption that Liverpool’s state aid could be illegal. In reality this makes no business sense other than to ’cause a scene’. Why Southampton would cut planned capacity increase in a growing industry is beyond me, they are in fact then sacrificing market share, or there was no longer an economic case for T5?
I am trying to write a balance argument, but I am from Liverpool, and want to see cruise ships in Liverpool more and more, but I love business and am passionate about free enterprise.
The flaws I see with Southampton’s argument;
– People don’t want to have to go down to Southampton for a cruise, it takes hours on the train, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and many others are closer to Liverpool, so choice should be provided.
– Liverpool has received backing from the Government because it needed it, like many other industries, car manufacturing and technology are perfect examples, grants are given to create economic growth.
– The increased awareness of cruising as people see these huge ships in Liverpool would encourage more people to cruise, inevitably sailing out of Southampton as the UK’s leading cruise port.
The flaws I see with Liverpool’s argument;
– As far as we know no cruise line has committed to using the facility, is it going to make economic sense?
– Peel Ports is a commercial business and a government grant is against the concept of free enterprise. A concept I believe very strongly in.
– The cost of building terminal’s and facilities in Liverpool is higher, due to the tidal patterns in Liverpool, The cost of the current floating landing stage is comparable to that of a full terminal in Southampton.
Since it was the late 60’s when Liverpool’s passenger shipping industry declined, Businesses in Southampton would benefit from opening in Liverpool to service the cruise industry, they already have the skill, knowledge and business relations that no local competitors can provide.
With one terminal used for both visiting cruise ships and the proposed turnaround service Liverpool could only really achieve 20/30 cruise turnarounds, and that’s with Cruise Line backing, which is never guaranteed.
The local newspapers, The Daily Echo (Southampton) and The Liverpool Echo & Daily Post have been blowing the news story out of proportion. One of The Daily Echo’s most recent news stories being the shock of Liverpool planning turnaround facilities if the turnaround ban was lifted…WHAT DID THEY EXPECT? If the ban is lifted surely it would make sense to build the suitable facilities. The shoddy journalism is widespread across the three papers.