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Balfour bags landmark cruise liner deal

CONTRACTS - LIVERPOOL

BALFOUR BEATTY is in line for a £20 million deal to build a landmark cruise liner terminal that will bring in 100,000 tourists a year to Liverpool.

The contractor is preferred bidder for the deal to erect the landmark facility at the city's pier head.

Volker Stevin and Nuttall missed out and Mowlem decided not to price the project.

The scheme will provide a world-class landing stage close to the city centre.This will allow cruise liners, naval vessels and tall ships to dock safely, bringing in an estimated £64 million a year to the city's economy.

Liverpool City Council estimates that around 15 cruise liners will use the terminal next year, with this figure rising to 27 when the city is the European Capital of Culture in 2008.The council hopes that 35 ships could be docking by 2010.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott has approved £17 million of support to the scheme. This is made up of £7.1 million from the Merseyside Objective 1 programme and £9.9 million from the Northwest Development Agency.

The project will involve a 250 m extension to the present landing stage, which will allow cruise ships up to 350 m long to berth.

That will mean some of the world's most famous liners will be able to visit Liverpool, including the Queen Mary II, the Queen Elizabeth II and the Grand Princess.

Mr Prescott said: 'There is no greater sight than these giants of the sea resting at one of our most historic waterfronts.'

Balfour Beatty will be on site in June with the liner port opening its doors for its first international travellers in July 2006.