Geologists in the Mersey as work gets under way on Liverpool’s new £50m cruise terminal

An overwater jack-up platform has arrived off Princes Dock in order to establish the strength of the seabed near to the Princess Jetty, which will eventually be demolished. Tony McDonough reports

Overwater jack-up platform
Overwater jack-up platform is part of the preparations for Liverpool’s new cruise terminal. Picture by Tony McDonough


Work on Liverpool’s new £50m cruise liner terminal is now under way with site investigations taking place on the bedrock of the River Mersey.

An overwater jack-up platform has arrived off Princes Dock in order to establish the strength of the seabed near to the Princess Jetty, which will eventually be demolished to make way for the new structure.

Seven boreholes

Working around the clock, drillers, engineering geologists and support crew will be drilling a total of seven boreholes into the river bedrock, extracting and testing rock samples, to understand the geological layers – or strata – present beneath the site.

Geotechnical engineers are simultaneously drilling a further seven boreholes on land in Princes Parade to carry out ground investigations.

The results for both river and land tests will then determine the design of the piled foundations for the terminal, which will contain a suspended deck, and the associated facilities.

The investigation works are being funded by Liverpool City Council, designed and supervised by AECOM, and performed by Fugro GeoServices.

Biggest vessels

The new facility, which replace the current terminal, will enable the city to welcome the world’s biggest cruise ships to its UNESCO listed World Heritage waterfront.

The council has appointed one of the UK’s leading building and civil engineering contractors McLaughlin & Harvey to carry out the first stage of a two stage design and build contract.

The first stage will consist of supporting the council’s appointed design team, led by Ramboll UK, to finalise the design and construction method, including completing enabling works such as the controlled dismantling of the existing derelict Princess Jetty, which has been gifted to the city by Peel Land and Property.

Princess Jetty
Princess Jetty will be demolished to make way for the new Liverpool cruise terminal. Picture by Tony McDonough


Critical visitor

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Liverpool is used to welcoming majestic vessels to the Mersey, like the Queen Victoria the other day, but this unusual looking jackup platform is arguably our most critical visitor this year given the importance of the work its carrying out.

It is a symbolic moment for the next chapter in the city’s maritime future as these site investigations will determine the foundations upon which our new Cruise Terminal will be built.

The city is working with the very best in the engineering industry to deliver this very complex project which shows our determination to create a world class experience for the cruise companies and their passengers.”

Cruise boom

This year Liverpool will welcome more than 57 vessels, with 100,000 passengers and crew, but the council wants to capitalise on the cruise boom by creating a state of the art passenger and baggage facility, complete with passport control, lounge, café, toilets, taxi rank and vehicle pick up point.

The current terminal generates more than £7m a year to the city’s economy.

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