Cape Town cruise terminal gets go-ahead

Cape Town - After years of requests and planning, Cape Town is finally to get its very own cruise terminal. 

Forming part of a multibillion-rand upgrade to the harbour, the terminal is expected to open in the Duncan Dock's E Berth in about two years' time, the Cape Argus reports.

Transnet confirmed on Wednesday that a 20-year contract for the construction and management of the berth was expected to be signed by November next year. Port manager Sipho Nzuzu put the delay down to a large number of 'legal issues'. 

Alan Winde, Western Cape MEC for finance, economic development and tourism, said this was far too long and that the city needed the economy to grow now. He added that Cape Town is a great cruise destination and adding a cruise terminal will just give it an extra, much-needed boost. 

The city signed a memorandum of understanding with the Transnet National Ports Authority on Tuesday.

The city's cruise tourism received a bit of a knock last year when the Department of Home Affairs banned cruise liners longer than 200m from berthing at the Waterfront. Ships are currently only allowed to dock at the distant and rather unattractive E and J berths at Duncan Dock. 

The construction of a dedicated terminal, which is set to include arrival and departure facilities, will be located closer to tourist attractions such as the V&A Waterfront and is sure to boost cruise tourism to the city.

Among others, the V&A Waterfront is in the running for the bid. David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront said that the development of a cruise terminal could increase the Waterfront's contribution to GDP by 51%, but that it is a very competitive bid and there is no guarantee that they will be successful.

The deadline for bids is October 16. 

Transnet spokesperson Coen Birkenstock, told the paper that 48 cruise ships came through the port in the past season, bringing an estimated 28 000 visitors to the city via the harbour. The Deutschland, MSC Sinfonia, Europa and MSC Opera were among them. Next January the Queen Mary 2 calls in Table Bay on its world cruise.

According to a 2011 City of Cape Town report, a cruise liner carrying 2 000 passengers would spend up to R2.2m a day.

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