Pounds 74m ferry terminal to be built on Merseyside

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A pounds 74m FERRY terminal for travel to and from Ireland will be built in the North-west of England under plans announced by the Merseyside Development Corporation. The terminal will provide freight and passenger links to Belfast and Dublin, and later passenger links to the Isle of Man, writes Mary Fagan.

The only remaining passenger terminals linking Britain and Ireland are at Holyhead in Wales and Stranraer in Dumfries and Galloway. A terminal at Heysham, Lancashire, handles ferries carrying passengers to the Isle of Man.

The roll-on roll-off terminal to be built at Birkenhead is part of a project that will also include a science park and a village for students and tourists, and which will create more than 2,000 jobs.

The MDC has granted London and General Property 'preferred developer status' for the site and will work alongside the company to finalise details of the project.

The MDC said Dublin was within three hours' sailing time of the Mersey. It believes that the Port of Liverpool's location offers an advantage when compared with other Irish Sea ports, because of its good road links and short sea journey times to Ireland.

Chris Farrow, chief executive of MDC, said: 'The Twelve Quays Ro-Ro Terminal is a significant step towards establishing Merseyside as a maritime gateway in Europe.'