Durban’s status as a leading cruise destination was cemented on 16th November with the arrival of the ‘MSC Orchestra’ on her maiden voyage to South Africa.
This coincided with a sod turning ceremony to mark the start of construction of the new Durban passenger terminal.
General Manager, Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi, said the port’s cruise sector developments reflected growing confidence in Durban as a cruise prospect.
“We thank MSC Cruises for continuously deploying their cruise vessels to the South African market, which has increased our country’s cruise competitiveness.
“’MSC Orchestra’s’ use of the Port of Durban as her homeport will see even more domestic and international tourists enjoying itineraries that take in our South African hub cruise ports of Durban and Cape Town, as well as ports in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Mauritius.
“TNPA, in partnership with the City of Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal, is growing Durban as a ‘Smart Port City’ and a world-class cruise capital. This aligns with the KZN Integrated Maritime Industry Development Strategy launched on board the ‘MSC Sinfonia’ in 2013, which highlighted maritime tourism as a catalyst for economic development,” he said.
On the same day, TNPA and the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) consortium – in which MSC Cruises is a partner alongside empowered investment entity Africa Armada Consortium – broke ground on the construction of Durban’s new cruise terminal.
KCT holds a 25-year port concession from TNPA to finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer the new facility at Durban at an estimated value of more than R200 mill. KCT has been finalising the detailed design of the cruise terminal building and the anticipated commissioning of the project is 2020/21.
Motlohi said that the new terminal development dovetails with the Durban’s new beachfront promenade extension from uShaka beach southwards to the harbour entrance, as well as the future development of Durban Point Waterfront.
Transnet plans to commence construction on its own section of the promenade in the third quarter of 2030, which will connect to the new cruise terminal, allowing cruise passengers direct access and connections to the Central Beachfront with relative ease and safety.
“This is going to change the face of Durban,” said Motlohi. “The cruise industry is the fastest growing category in the leisure travel market, and TNPA’s decision to build a dedicated cruise terminal in the port is well supported.”
The new energy efficient terminal will boast a host of new features and facilities, with a retail component, as well as multi-purpose training, conferencing and events facilities.