The Liverpool Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram has signed a contract for the first new Mersey Ferry for 60 years to be built at Cammell Laird’s Birkenhead shipyard.
The state-of-the-art vessel will be designed to harness green technology, with a cutting-edge Azi-pull propeller system for reduced fuel usage, along with a diesel-electric hybrid-ready propulsion system – with potential for future conversion to full electric propulsion as technology evolves.
Mr Rotheram met with Cammell Laird Chief Executive, David McGinley at the shipyard on Wednesday morning to sign the deal. He also met with a number of apprentices whose jobs will be supported by this new contract.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region commented: “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.
“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.”
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. It is hoped the new ferry will be in service on the Mersey in the next couple of years.
The Combined Authority and Cammell Laird will now work closely to finalise the design and build programme.
David McGinley, Chief Executive of APCL Group, said: “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.”
Ruth Wood, CEO of Mersey Maritime commented: “This investment marks a significant milestone for the maritime sector in the Liverpool City Region. The partnership between the Combined Authority and Cammell Laird not only reinforces our commitment to sustaining and developing our maritime heritage but also exemplifies the forward-thinking approach necessary for the industry’s growth. It’s brilliant to see the iconic Mersey Ferry being developed at Cammell Laird, a testament to the shipyard’s expertise and the resilience of our maritime workforce.
“The involvement of apprentices in this project is crucial for nurturing the next generation of maritime professionals. This investment ensures that our workforce remains at the forefront of innovation, equipped with the skills needed for the future.
Mersey Maritime is proud to witness this collaboration and looks forward to the positive ripple effects it will undoubtedly have on the entire maritime ecosystem in the Liverpool City Region.”
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