First vessel berths at £70m Isle of Man Terminal

Isle of Man Steam Packet vessel Manannan has berthed at the new £70m ferry terminal in Liverpool for the first time ahead of its opening this spring. Tony McDonough reports

Manannan arriving at the £70m terminal for the first time. Picture from the Isle of Man government


Isle of Man fastcraft ferry Manannan has berthed at the new £70m terminal on the River Mersey for the first time.

Funded by the Isle of Man Government, the new terminal is located just north of the Pier Head and is scheduled to welcome its first passengers this spring.

However, it is likely Manannan will initially sail from the existing Pier Head berth when the first services of 2024 begin on Friday, March 22. The new terminal will only open when berth fit and mooring trials have been completed.

This project to build the terminal began in November 2019. Originally due to cost £38m, it has been dogged by delays with its original August 2021 opening date put back and the cost almost doubling to £70m.

Manannan berthed at the terminal this week as part of the final testing. The Isle of Man Government said: “The trial enabled major infrastructure marine works to be tested with the vessel.”

Later this year, the terminal will see the arrival of Manannan’s new sister vessel, the £76m Manxman which completed its maiden voyage in August 2023. 


Manannan berthed at the terminal this week. Picture from the Isle of Man government
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new ferry, Manxman. Picture from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


Built in Ulsan, South Korea, Manxman has capacity for up to 948 people, as well as 10% more capacity for vehicles. Initially it will operate a service between Douglas in the Isle of Man and Heysham, Lancashire.

It has been bought to replace the veteran Steam Packet vessel Ben-my-Chree which has been seen regularly on the Mersey over the years. In late 2024 or 2025 it is expected Manxman will also operate services between Douglas and Liverpool.

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Services between Liverpool and the Isle of Man begin in March and continue into October. There can be up to three sailings a day with demand at its highest during the famous Isle of Man TT series of motorcycle races during the summer.

In January Isle of Man Steam Packet Company managing director Brian Thompson said he was “excited about the prospect of improved passenger experience”.

He added: “Operations from the new Isle of Man Government terminal in spring 2024, but until the berth fit has taken place and we’ve started berth trials we won’t be in a position to commit to a firm date for the first sailing.”

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