Shipping minister prepares to rule on Liverpool's cruise terminal funding

Daily Echo: Shipping minister Mike Penning. Shipping minister Mike Penning.

THE shipping minister is expected to rule this week on Liverpool’s bid to grab a slice of Southampton’s lucrative cruise trade.

Mike Penning will tell MPs how much public money Liverpool will have to pay back for the right to host turnaround cruises at its taxpayer funded £21m Pier Head terminal.

The Mersey city is already preparing to open a new temporary customs and baggage check-in marquee at the City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal ready to start and finish its first cruise on May 29.

Southampton and other UK cruise ports are demanding all public handouts are repaid so their privately funded operations are not threatened by an unfair playing field.

Euro MPs are now preparing to meet the EU’s competition chief to demand Liverpool fully repay £9m in European cash that match funded UK grants for construction of the terminal on the strict condition it could not be used to start and finish cruises.

South-east Tory MEP Daniel Hannan and his North East counterpart Martin Callanan, chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, are set to meet the EU competition commissioner in coming weeks.

Liverpool, which had an initial £5.3m repayment offer rejected by ministers, has not proposed to pay back any EU cash, claiming that there is no overriding legal requirement to do so.

Speaking on a visit to Southampton Mr Hannan said: “It’s about fairness. I’ve got nothing at all against Liverpool dock. If I were a north-west MEP I would still say that this is outrageous.”

He added: “The EU requirements on competition law are tougher than the UK.

“The EU is explicitly forbidden in the clearest language that lawyers can devise from giving any grants to anyone where it constitutes unfair competition. So the only way forward is they pay the money back.”

He added: “You can never be certain with the EU because it’s such a bizarre organisation but the law is so clear, so open and shut, it’s very difficult to see how they could let it stand.”

Liverpool city mayor Joe Anderson has been accused of trying to bounce a decision by pressing ahead with the construction of a 1,200 capacity customs and baggage check-in facility ready for the MV Ocean Countess to become the first cruise liner in 40 years to operate a turnaround passenger voyage from its Pier Head landing stage.

Liverpool’s other existing turnaround facility is at the commercial harbour in Langton Dock, next to a scrapheap.

Comments (19)

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2:50pm Mon 21 May 12

mummsie says...

Do the right thing Penning ! Make Liverpool pay the whole lot back !
Fairs Fare!!!
Do the right thing Penning ! Make Liverpool pay the whole lot back ! Fairs Fare!!! mummsie
  • Score: 0

4:18pm Mon 21 May 12

ohec says...

Permission should be given for turn around cruises to start immediately every penny of the grant money U.K and the E.Us is repaid and not before,anything else would be a total disgrace but this governments track record on U turns doesn't give one much confidence.
Permission should be given for turn around cruises to start immediately every penny of the grant money U.K and the E.Us is repaid and not before,anything else would be a total disgrace but this governments track record on U turns doesn't give one much confidence. ohec
  • Score: 0

4:24pm Mon 21 May 12

georgetheseventh says...

mummsie wrote:
Do the right thing Penning ! Make Liverpool pay the whole lot back !
Fairs Fare!!!
I think Mike will do right by Shampton..after all..you have to get Roy back in power ASAP..(he did such a good job).
So here we go again..all the funny little puns..all the sarcastic little jibes when all along we are going to pay all the money back and we here will be quite happy with that..problem is you and your chums WONT..because pay-back or nay..you are so 'fearful of us..ha..ha..we have a TENT and you know what..that will make you jealous as well because we know you southern guys like making tents in bed..right ??
[quote][p][bold]mummsie[/bold] wrote: Do the right thing Penning ! Make Liverpool pay the whole lot back ! Fairs Fare!!![/p][/quote]I think Mike will do right by Shampton..after all..you have to get Roy back in power ASAP..(he did such a good job). So here we go again..all the funny little puns..all the sarcastic little jibes when all along we are going to pay all the money back and we here will be quite happy with that..problem is you and your chums WONT..because pay-back or nay..you are so 'fearful of us..ha..ha..we have a TENT and you know what..that will make you jealous as well because we know you southern guys like making tents in bed..right ?? georgetheseventh
  • Score: 0

4:27pm Mon 21 May 12

georgetheseventh says...

I love the Echo's pun..a slice of the lucrative cake..Zzzzzzzz zzz
I love the Echo's pun..a slice of the lucrative cake..Zzzzzzzz zzz georgetheseventh
  • Score: 0

5:23pm Mon 21 May 12

arizonan says...

Hannan would be saying the same if he was a North West MP?, what drivel.He would be at total odds with his North West constituents need for a Cruise Terminal if he took that stance.
When has the EU demanded grants to be repaid, when those grants have been given to a depressed area?.The restriction to limit cruise operations from Liverpool was a UK restriction, not one imposed by the EU.
The cruise planned in late May is one that already operates from Langton dock, and next year is a return of Fred Olsen after they withdrew operations from Langton dock on safety grounds.
In other words, these two operations are Liverpool traffic, not stolen, pinched or grabbed from Newcastle, Southampton, or anywhere else.
It is pathetic to see a monopoly acting in this way against a start-up operation.
Hannan would be saying the same if he was a North West MP?, what drivel.He would be at total odds with his North West constituents need for a Cruise Terminal if he took that stance. When has the EU demanded grants to be repaid, when those grants have been given to a depressed area?.The restriction to limit cruise operations from Liverpool was a UK restriction, not one imposed by the EU. The cruise planned in late May is one that already operates from Langton dock, and next year is a return of Fred Olsen after they withdrew operations from Langton dock on safety grounds. In other words, these two operations are Liverpool traffic, not stolen, pinched or grabbed from Newcastle, Southampton, or anywhere else. It is pathetic to see a monopoly acting in this way against a start-up operation. arizonan
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Mon 21 May 12

phil maccavity says...

As always you choose to overlook the fact that Liverpool was provided with £17m of EU & UK Grant aid on the specific condition that the money was to provide for calling cruises only.
Yet within a short space of time Liverpool had sought to dispense with this particular condition.
If the turnround business is so important to Liverpool why didnt the City Council/Peel Ports risk their own money, like everywhere else in the Uk, rather than rely on state handouts.
It's unfair!!
As always you choose to overlook the fact that Liverpool was provided with £17m of EU & UK Grant aid on the specific condition that the money was to provide for calling cruises only. Yet within a short space of time Liverpool had sought to dispense with this particular condition. If the turnround business is so important to Liverpool why didnt the City Council/Peel Ports risk their own money, like everywhere else in the Uk, rather than rely on state handouts. It's unfair!! phil maccavity
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Mon 21 May 12

phil maccavity says...

As always you choose to overlook the fact that Liverpool was provided with £17m of EU & UK Grant aid on the specific condition that the money was to provide for calling cruises only.
Yet within a short space of time Liverpool had sought to dispense with this particular condition.
If the turnround business is so important to Liverpool why didnt the City Council/Peel Ports risk their own money, like everywhere else in the Uk, rather than rely on state handouts.
It's unfair!!
As always you choose to overlook the fact that Liverpool was provided with £17m of EU & UK Grant aid on the specific condition that the money was to provide for calling cruises only. Yet within a short space of time Liverpool had sought to dispense with this particular condition. If the turnround business is so important to Liverpool why didnt the City Council/Peel Ports risk their own money, like everywhere else in the Uk, rather than rely on state handouts. It's unfair!! phil maccavity
  • Score: 0

6:26pm Mon 21 May 12

downfader says...

Penning on the case... that would make me worry. He is also Road Safety Minister and when questioned on various issues and stats earlier this year at a parliamentary meeting I'm afraid he hadn't a clue.

Those in the know will do better to write to him, cc in Justine Greening (Transport Secretary) for good measure.
Penning on the case... that would make me worry. He is also Road Safety Minister and when questioned on various issues and stats earlier this year at a parliamentary meeting I'm afraid he hadn't a clue. Those in the know will do better to write to him, cc in Justine Greening (Transport Secretary) for good measure. downfader
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Mon 21 May 12

arizonan says...

Only in Britain would you have a facility to promote growth and job creation, in a time of recession, being banned from use.
Can you not see this situation for what it is? Cloud cuckoo land.
It is nonsense to suggest Liverpool's plans for use of this terminal in 2012 and 2013 will lead to job losses etc. in any port around the UK. Where is the evidence to the contrary?
Only in Britain would you have a facility to promote growth and job creation, in a time of recession, being banned from use. Can you not see this situation for what it is? Cloud cuckoo land. It is nonsense to suggest Liverpool's plans for use of this terminal in 2012 and 2013 will lead to job losses etc. in any port around the UK. Where is the evidence to the contrary? arizonan
  • Score: 0

8:09pm Mon 21 May 12

phil maccavity says...

arizonan wrote:
Only in Britain would you have a facility to promote growth and job creation, in a time of recession, being banned from use.
Can you not see this situation for what it is? Cloud cuckoo land.
It is nonsense to suggest Liverpool's plans for use of this terminal in 2012 and 2013 will lead to job losses etc. in any port around the UK. Where is the evidence to the contrary?
'Promote growth'?
Strange that Liverpool's ex council leader (now elected Mayor) has told the Govt that the intention is only to maintain the existing share of Liverpool's market share.
I suppose believing this is the same as believing the original Grant application.
btw Liverpool has not been 'banned' from using the Grant aided terminal for turnrounds. What remains to be established is how much of the £17m grant has to be repaid so it can be seen to compete on a level playing field with all other Uk cruise ports
It seems strange to me that Liverpool, with many advantages to attract calling cruises (which was the main intention of the £17m grant aid) actually has less calling cruises per annum than Holyhead, a relatively inauspicious port not too far away from the Mersey which seems to have got by without any grant aid.
I wonder why this is?
[quote][p][bold]arizonan[/bold] wrote: Only in Britain would you have a facility to promote growth and job creation, in a time of recession, being banned from use. Can you not see this situation for what it is? Cloud cuckoo land. It is nonsense to suggest Liverpool's plans for use of this terminal in 2012 and 2013 will lead to job losses etc. in any port around the UK. Where is the evidence to the contrary?[/p][/quote]'Promote growth'? Strange that Liverpool's ex council leader (now elected Mayor) has told the Govt that the intention is only to maintain the existing share of Liverpool's market share. I suppose believing this is the same as believing the original Grant application. btw Liverpool has not been 'banned' from using the Grant aided terminal for turnrounds. What remains to be established is how much of the £17m grant has to be repaid so it can be seen to compete on a level playing field with all other Uk cruise ports It seems strange to me that Liverpool, with many advantages to attract calling cruises (which was the main intention of the £17m grant aid) actually has less calling cruises per annum than Holyhead, a relatively inauspicious port not too far away from the Mersey which seems to have got by without any grant aid. I wonder why this is? phil maccavity
  • Score: 0

9:23pm Mon 21 May 12

loosehead says...

I asked why Liverpool didn't compete for the cruises that have now gone to Harwich?
I was told by Arizonan they couldn't compete for it as they never had permission for turnaround?
Yet they're paying out for a Marquee for offloading & loading passengers?
the cruises weren't starting until 2013 so why not compete for it?
The answer seems to be Liverpool council are after one type of cruise route & that's North America.
So they have lied about their intentions then they cry foul when Southampton & many other ports say pay back all grants in full & let us go into open competition.
To comment on these articles we get asked why we're Anti Liverpool we aren't.
As your city are fighting for jobs are city needs jobs so why not go for new cruise routes & ships instead of trying to get established routes & ships from established ports?
If you have so much to offer any new cruise line would/should be begging you to set up shop in Liverpool shouldn't they?
It has been said the calling trade is quite beneficial financially so why hasn't Liverpool been raking it in?
I asked why Liverpool didn't compete for the cruises that have now gone to Harwich? I was told by Arizonan they couldn't compete for it as they never had permission for turnaround? Yet they're paying out for a Marquee for offloading & loading passengers? the cruises weren't starting until 2013 so why not compete for it? The answer seems to be Liverpool council are after one type of cruise route & that's North America. So they have lied about their intentions then they cry foul when Southampton & many other ports say pay back all grants in full & let us go into open competition. To comment on these articles we get asked why we're Anti Liverpool we aren't. As your city are fighting for jobs are city needs jobs so why not go for new cruise routes & ships instead of trying to get established routes & ships from established ports? If you have so much to offer any new cruise line would/should be begging you to set up shop in Liverpool shouldn't they? It has been said the calling trade is quite beneficial financially so why hasn't Liverpool been raking it in? loosehead
  • Score: 0

11:55pm Mon 21 May 12

arizonan says...

If Liverpool is such a poor bet as as a turnaround and day cruise port, then why the hell has this newspaper, ABP, M.E.P.'s, M.P.'s, fake port associations, been fighting to stop it tooth and nail for the last couple of years???.
Your arguments and points hold no water whatsoever.
This Government even had the gaul to appoint a graduate of Southampton University as Secretary of State at the Department of Transport to bolster the case against Liverpool.
If Liverpool is such a poor bet as as a turnaround and day cruise port, then why the hell has this newspaper, ABP, M.E.P.'s, M.P.'s, fake port associations, been fighting to stop it tooth and nail for the last couple of years???. Your arguments and points hold no water whatsoever. This Government even had the gaul to appoint a graduate of Southampton University as Secretary of State at the Department of Transport to bolster the case against Liverpool. arizonan
  • Score: 0

6:26am Tue 22 May 12

aldermoorboy says...

pay back the money,then do as you wish.
pay back the money,then do as you wish. aldermoorboy
  • Score: 0

6:27am Tue 22 May 12

aldermoorboy says...

pay back the money,then do as you wish.
pay back the money,then do as you wish. aldermoorboy
  • Score: 0

8:02am Tue 22 May 12

loosehead says...

arizonan wrote:
If Liverpool is such a poor bet as as a turnaround and day cruise port, then why the hell has this newspaper, ABP, M.E.P.'s, M.P.'s, fake port associations, been fighting to stop it tooth and nail for the last couple of years???.
Your arguments and points hold no water whatsoever.
This Government even had the gaul to appoint a graduate of Southampton University as Secretary of State at the Department of Transport to bolster the case against Liverpool.
Sorry you haven't answered my question.
If your city has so much to offer why hasn't it been raking it in through visiting ships?
If your the great tourist attraction you say you are the cruise companies would be lining up to visit your city they're not so why not?
Arizonan most people down here wish you well but can't understand this them & us attitude you & several other Northern posters have.
We have a lot of unemployed & due to EU rules have lost factories now all this city,port & the people of this city are asking is pay back all the money & then let's have free open competition.
you seem aghast at that proposition why?
I would love to see Liverpool have full employment but at the expense of my city? No way can't you see that with out criticising us?
[quote][p][bold]arizonan[/bold] wrote: If Liverpool is such a poor bet as as a turnaround and day cruise port, then why the hell has this newspaper, ABP, M.E.P.'s, M.P.'s, fake port associations, been fighting to stop it tooth and nail for the last couple of years???. Your arguments and points hold no water whatsoever. This Government even had the gaul to appoint a graduate of Southampton University as Secretary of State at the Department of Transport to bolster the case against Liverpool.[/p][/quote]Sorry you haven't answered my question. If your city has so much to offer why hasn't it been raking it in through visiting ships? If your the great tourist attraction you say you are the cruise companies would be lining up to visit your city they're not so why not? Arizonan most people down here wish you well but can't understand this them & us attitude you & several other Northern posters have. We have a lot of unemployed & due to EU rules have lost factories now all this city,port & the people of this city are asking is pay back all the money & then let's have free open competition. you seem aghast at that proposition why? I would love to see Liverpool have full employment but at the expense of my city? No way can't you see that with out criticising us? loosehead
  • Score: 0

12:25pm Tue 22 May 12

phil maccavity says...

arizonan wrote:
If Liverpool is such a poor bet as as a turnaround and day cruise port, then why the hell has this newspaper, ABP, M.E.P.'s, M.P.'s, fake port associations, been fighting to stop it tooth and nail for the last couple of years???.
Your arguments and points hold no water whatsoever.
This Government even had the gaul to appoint a graduate of Southampton University as Secretary of State at the Department of Transport to bolster the case against Liverpool.
No one complained about the day call arrangement, despite the massibe grant, as it would have been looked on as complementary to the UK's Round Britain crusie strategy.
Even then Liverpool's growth figures were massively out
Complaints about turning the day call requirement into turnround status occurred as soon as Liverpool rfevealed the real purpose of their grant application.
Interesting that you criticise Mike Penning. An odd argument
however on that basis itwas dear old John Prescott, who regularly sailed out of Liverpool as a steward, who gave permission for the UK grant to build the new waterfront terminal.
His Dept also turned down the Dibden bay expansion project!!
[quote][p][bold]arizonan[/bold] wrote: If Liverpool is such a poor bet as as a turnaround and day cruise port, then why the hell has this newspaper, ABP, M.E.P.'s, M.P.'s, fake port associations, been fighting to stop it tooth and nail for the last couple of years???. Your arguments and points hold no water whatsoever. This Government even had the gaul to appoint a graduate of Southampton University as Secretary of State at the Department of Transport to bolster the case against Liverpool.[/p][/quote]No one complained about the day call arrangement, despite the massibe grant, as it would have been looked on as complementary to the UK's Round Britain crusie strategy. Even then Liverpool's growth figures were massively out Complaints about turning the day call requirement into turnround status occurred as soon as Liverpool rfevealed the real purpose of their grant application. Interesting that you criticise Mike Penning. An odd argument however on that basis itwas dear old John Prescott, who regularly sailed out of Liverpool as a steward, who gave permission for the UK grant to build the new waterfront terminal. His Dept also turned down the Dibden bay expansion project!! phil maccavity
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Tue 22 May 12

arizonan says...

I did not criticise Mike Penning. He was the minister who stated that he wanted the cruise ships back on the Mersey.
And to loosehead, I think you will find that this newspaper commenced the them and us attitude with cruise wars. Or did all the Southern Echo articles go in one ear and out the other?.
I did not criticise Mike Penning. He was the minister who stated that he wanted the cruise ships back on the Mersey. And to loosehead, I think you will find that this newspaper commenced the them and us attitude with cruise wars. Or did all the Southern Echo articles go in one ear and out the other?. arizonan
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Wed 23 May 12

Who's laughing now says...

We're all laughing at Southampton!!
We're all laughing at Southampton!! Who's laughing now
  • Score: 0

3:31am Fri 25 May 12

dionne18 says...

Who's laughing now wrote:
We're all laughing at Southampton!!
Me too, I have been studying this for a school assignment - Congratulations Liverpool, you played (and continue to play) a blinder! Southampton, you snooze, you loose - always keep one eye on the future competition (business 101). I really like how in Liverpool you can get off the ship and walk into the city centre (just like NY)... when you alight from a ship in Southampton you could get a cab to Benny Hill's house?
[quote][p][bold]Who's laughing now[/bold] wrote: We're all laughing at Southampton!![/p][/quote]Me too, I have been studying this for a school assignment - Congratulations Liverpool, you played (and continue to play) a blinder! Southampton, you snooze, you loose - always keep one eye on the future competition (business 101). I really like how in Liverpool you can get off the ship and walk into the city centre (just like NY)... when you alight from a ship in Southampton you could get a cab to Benny Hill's house? dionne18
  • Score: 0

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