The River Mersey in Liverpool
November 16, 2022 WHAT’S NEW 0 Comment

Yuken Europe work as part of the team to deliver a multi-million-pound upgrade to the Mersey Ferries which has safety at its heart.  

After closing for two years, commuters and tourists are welcomed back to the Mersey Ferry route from Liverpool to Wallasey. The upgrade to the ferry terminal means that the iconic Mersey Ferries are back in Seacombe. The Ferries have graced the river Mersey for over 800 years, having already been an established sight before Liverpool had officially been declared a town in 1207.  They have a huge role to play in the city’s heritage. Being one of Merseyside’s most visited tourist attractions it has been essential to get the Seacombe terminal back up and running to aid in the recovery from the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic had significant effects on the economy, as well as the transport system.   

Yuken Europe’s role in this upgrade was paramount. Working on the hydraulics for the new bridge and the landing platform that links the ferry to the pontoon. Yuken Europe developed a bespoke hydraulic system designed to meet the required technical specification provided to us by the customer. By working with Mersey travel (operators of the Mersey Ferries), an executive body that provides professional strategic and operational transport advice to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, the team created an enhanced safety system.

The hydraulic system had its own complexity as it needed a solution to adapt the gangway system to manage the effect of high frequency tidal and weather conditions often seen on the Mersey. The Mersey is one of the fastest tidal rivers in Europe therefore this required special attention to the way the gangway was going to move with the vessel during passenger embark and disembarkation operations. A unique ‘Float’ system was designed and incorporated into the gangway control system which successfully achieved this.

Alan Ledson – Projects Engineering Manager at Yuken Europe has been leading this project with the team and he explains the project:  

“This bespoke built hydraulic system provides levels of redundancy should a critical component fail. Component selection such as this was essential as many considerations had to be made, for example, the environmental and safety levels.”  

“The main operator consoles were designed in such a way as to mimic the existing system operating at the pier head, thus, shortening training familiarisation times. We have created a unique and innovative replacement for the 130-year-old linkspan bridge. New security features prevent unauthorised access to the operation of the gangways, coinciding with MerseyTravel’s aim to ensure transport is fit for the future, accessible, and safe.”  

Alan Ledson
Projects Engineering Manager Yuken Europe

Hundreds of thousands of people are out on the Mersey each year, with Liverpool Freeport being the biggest and busiest freeport in Britain. Not only is it a hotspot for tourists, but in 2020 Liverpool was the UK’s fourth largest port of tonnage of freight handling 31.1 million tonnes. Amidst how busy the Mersey River is, recent data suggests the number of people using the ferries has risen to pre-pandemic levels, this upgrade will lead to significant further growth. The reopening of Seacombe will now allow for work to begin at Woodside Ferry Terminal for a similar upgrade. Reinstating Mersey Ferries as an essential part of the region’s cultural identity, and we here at Yuken are delighted to have played such a monumental part in this.  

 “The re-opening of Seacombe will allow us to begin works at Woodside and bring it up to the same standard and support the on-going regeneration works in Birkenhead. 

“The Mersey Ferries are an important part of our cultural identity in the city region. These works at both of our Wirral terminals will make sure the ferries can continue to operate from there for many years to come.” 

Cllr Liam Robinson
Transport and Air Quality Portfolio Holder for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 

Alan Ledson CSWP and the project team at Yuken Europe provide end to end project management services. The team have worked on remarkable solutions for the film industry, manufacturing, maritime, conservation, renewable energy and many more. The team provides service from design to delivery. For more information, please contact  or call 44 (0)151 486 4696