And here I’ll stay…Mayor signs contract to build new Mersey Ferry wholly in the Liverpool City Region

Publish date

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

The first new Mersey Ferry for more than 60 years will be built entirely within the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram has announced today.

Following more than a year of detailed negotiations, an agreement has been reached between the Combined Authority and Cammell Laird that will see the new vessel being constructed solely at the firm’s Birkenhead shipyard.

The Mayor, who was joined by engineering apprentices as he signed the contract, pledged that the multimillion pound project will “guarantee the future of the iconic Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey for generations to come”.

“It’s always been my ambition to build our new ferry here in the Liverpool City Region, ensuring that we can retain the well-paid jobs and training opportunities it will create for local people. That’s why we’ve taken our time, working in partnership with trade unions, to make sure this doesn’t just deliver best value for money – but best value for our residents too.

“It has taken a Herculean effort to reach this agreement that will bring the first new ferry to the Mersey in over 60 years – that’s before Gerry and the Pacemakers even recorded the song that would help make them world famous!

“Hundreds of thousands of people, both from the region and visitors from further afield, use the Mersey Ferries every year - but the current vessels are more and more difficult to maintain. With this investment we will guarantee the future of the iconic Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey for generations to come.”

Steve Rotheram

Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

As previously announced, the new ferry will be designed to provide passengers with greater comfort, accessibility and an improved experience. There are also plans for upgrade works on one of the existing vessels to improve its performance and reliability.

The Combined Authority and Cammell Laird will now work closely to finalise the design and build programme.

"Given their extensive maritime legacy and significant contributions to our local economy over the years, the decision to construct the next Mersey Ferry at Cammell Laird is perfect.

“With Cammell Laird building the new ferry in Birkenhead, we uphold our borough's proud maritime heritage and ensure that the economic benefits of the ferry's construction remain within our community, benefiting our workers, local businesses, and suppliers."

Cllr Paul Stuart

Leader of Wirral Council

Cammell Laird has a long heritage with the Mersey Ferries, having built 15 of the vessels dating back to 1836 as well as well as helping to maintain the current fleet.

“We have always been a global business with a local heart, so it’s fitting that two things which are closely associated with the Mersey – ferries and Cammell Laird – should come together for this latest milestone in the rich maritime heritage of the area.

“It’s a point of pride that we built the last Mersey ferry to enter service and will be doing so again, cementing our place both in the rich history of the Mersey, but equally, in its future too.

“Our apprentices will be working on this project alongside the rest of our highly skilled workforce, and I know this project is something they’ll be equally proud to be involved in.”

David McGinley

Chief Executive of APCL Group

The building of a new ferry and upgrade works to one of the existing vessels are the latest investments made by the Combined Authority as part of its 20 year Mersey Ferries strategy, with others including the multi million pound upgrade works at Seacombe Ferry Terminal and funding for the Eureka! Science + Discovery attraction.