Revealed… when £70 Isle of Man terminal will open

Isle of Man Government reveals when the new £70m Steam Packet ferry terminal on Liverpool waterfront will finally open to passengers. Tony McDonough reports

Manannan berths at the new terminal in Liverpool for the first time in March 2024. Picture from the Isle of Man government


A new £70m Isle of Man ferry terminal on Liverpool waterfront will finally open to passengers in June.

On Friday the Isle of Man Government, which has funded the building of the terminal, told LBN it is likely to be opened after the TT motorcycle racing festival which takes place this year from June 1 to June 8.

This latest update comes as it’s revealed almost 69,000 passengers travelled on Isle of Man Steam Packet ferries in the first quarter of 2024 – a 21% increase on the same period in 2023.

For Steam Packet the period leading up to and during the TT Races is by far its busiest of the year. The event is critical to the Isle of Man’s visitor economy and the Manx Government would prefer to play it safe and open the terminal after the event to ensure a “smooth transition”

Berthing trials, which began in late March, will continue to take place over the coming weeks. The trials are a mandatory safety procedure and enable the Steam Packet Company’s captains to become accustomed to the new berth at varying states of tide, river and weather conditions.

Manx infrastructure minister Tim Crookall, said: ‘Ensuring the safety of passengers by enabling the captains to become familiar with the demands of the new berth is of the utmost importance, and it’s therefore vital that the operational requirements of the Steam Packet and its staff are taken into full consideration.

“Planning the first sailing after this year’s TT festival is the correct decision in the interests of continuity and passenger safety while staff become accustomed to new surroundings and procedures.’

Steam Packet managing director Brian Thomson added: ‘Safety is the Steam Packet Company’s priority and we are pleased we can perform the required safety trials and training necessary to ensure the safety of passengers and crew once the facility is ready for public use.”

Work on the terminal began in 2019 and the project has been dogged with delays and rising costs. Original expected cost of the build was around £38m.

Owned by the Isle of Man Government, Steam Packet operates services from Liverpool and Heysham to the Isle of Man. Services between Liverpool and the island can be as frequent as three times a day at the height of summer.

In 2023 the company carried more than 623,000 passengers and 196,000 vehicles, the highest numbers for 16 years. This year has also seen the introduction of Manannan’s new sister vessel, the £76m Manxman which completed its maiden voyage in August 2023.

Built in Ulsan, South Korea, Manxman has capacity for up to 948 people, as well as 10% more capacity for vehicles. It is currently operating the service between Douglas in the Isle of Man and Heysham in 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.

Transportation of essential freight to the island in the first quarter also saw a 7% increase, with 103,973 metres of freight being carried versus 96,508 last year.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company said: “With the motorcycle event of the year, the TT, racing towards the island in just a few weeks (June 1 to June 8), we are looking forward to another strong year.


Isle of Man ferry Manannan departs the Mersey. Picture by Ian Fairbrother
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new ferry, Manxman. Picture from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company


“There are more passengers booked to travel over this year’s TT period compared to the same time last year. With over 45% of passengers traveling via Heysham on Manxman, the new ferry is again proving a popular option.”

Manxman, as well offering over three hundred more seats than Ben-my-Chree, boasts free on board infotainment and Wi-Fi, a range of upgraded lounges, large restaurant and bar areas, and a comfortable café at the bow of the vessel.

“Manxman has elevated our service and set a new standard for passenger ferries, and we’re proud it is the flagship vessel in our fleet,” the company added.

“It’s fantastic to see residents and tourists excited to travel on board Manxman, and with TT just around the corner, it will be Manxman’s inaugural TT service.

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