THE Port of Tilbury has secured a contract to to manage cruise liners visiting London on the Thames.

The Port of London Authority has awarded the five-year contract for management of its Central London Cruise Moorings to a joint venture between the Port of Tilbury and MBNA Thames Clippers.

The five-year deal will see the venture taking over responsibility for the day-to-day operations of three moorings – Greenwich Ship Tier, Tower Bridge Upper and George’s Stair Tier.

Steve Lyons, head of cruise for Capital Cruising at the Port of Tilbury, said: “This is an exciting time for our cruise business. Over the last decade we’ve transformed the Thames offer for larger cruise ships at London International Cruise Terminal at Tilbury, which is now the home port for Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

“This new agreement with the PLA allows us to bring the marketing of all London’s cruise facilities under one umbrella and to apply our cruise ship management experience to the unique facilities in central London.

“Viking Sun will be the first cruise ship of the 2018 central London season, when she makes her maiden call in the capital this Friday, 4 May.”

Last year the moorings attracted more than 20 calls from cruise ships.

The joint venture brings together capabilities including 17 boats servicing over 4.1 million commuters, domestic visitors and international tourists exploring London as well as managing over 100,000 passengers a year through servicing cruise ship calls at Tilbury and at ports in Scotland.