The European Commission has found that public funding worth £17.8 million (ca. €22 million) granted for the construction of the Liverpool cruise terminal is in line with EU state aid rules.
The new infrastructure furthers EU transport policy objectives without unduly distorting competition in the single market.
Following a complaint, the Commission started to examine the financing of a new cruise terminal in Liverpool in 2011. The project was conducted by the Liverpool City Council and received funding from the UK (£9.2 million) and from EU Structural Funds (£8.6 million).
The UK carried out an in-depth financial analysis showing that the terminal operator’s income from the use of the infrastructure would be insufficient to cover the investment costs over a period of 20 years. Therefore, the project would not be carried out without public funding.
The investment will allow for a better exploitation of sea transport services, particularly in the cruise industry. The Commission found that the public funding was limited to the minimum necessary to make the investment possible.
Also, the Commission found that the potential distortions of competition triggered by the public funding will be limited because the terminal will have a small market share, both in the EU and UK markets. The positive effects of the project will outweigh any potential distortions of competition brought about by the aid.
March 12, 2014