The $16 mill Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban, South Africa’s main port, was officially inaugurated by the country’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, ahead of the start of the 2023/24 cruise season.
The building was developed and funded by MSC Cruises and its black economic empowerment partner, African Armada Consortium. Together with Transnet National Ports Authority, they created the first public/private partnership in South Africa’s cruise industry.
KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Limited now operates the new facility.
The 6,000 sq m energy-efficient cruise terminal has the capacity to handle 4,000 passengers a day. The project created 10,000 construction jobs that were primarily sourced locally in Durban.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and Chairman of KwaZulu Cruise Terminal attended the opening ceremony, together with the South African President, His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, South African Government Ministers, port officials and leaders from South Africa’s main travel agencies.
Vago said, “Nelson Mandela was an incredible statesman and leader who continues to inspire progress around the world and we are honoured that the Nelson Mandela Foundation allowed us to use his name for what is the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom.
“MSC Cruises arrived in South Africa in the early 1990s and since then, thousands of cruise guests have discovered the beauty of the KwaZulu-Natal Province and beyond.
“The new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban will give access to passengers from more than 100 nationalities and they will enjoy the unique experience we offer on board and visits to the beautiful destinations we have developed at Portuguese Island and Pomene in Mozambique.
“It has been 10 years since the public/private partnership was initially conceived, the first of its kind for the east coast of South Africa. We were given the privilege together with our black empowerment partner to create new infrastructure that supports the expansion of the South African cruise tourism and the new terminal will be welcomed by all cruise companies from around the world,” he said.
MSC Cruises’ parent MSC Group is the world’s largest container shipping company that has operated in South Africa for more than 50 years. The organisation has also grown to become the biggest shipping agency and largest shipping investor in the country. More than 1 mill MSC containers pass through South African ports each year through 750 ship calls.
MSC Group also set up South Africa’s Shosholoza Academy in 2019 to educate young people and train them in hospitality skills used on board MSC Cruises’ fleet of 22 ships. The academy will result in 5,000 new crew members join MSC Cruises’ vessels in the weeks and months ahead.
An international customer call centre in Johannesburg serves MSC Cruises and its luxury cruise sister company, Explora Journeys, for passengers in South Africa, the US and the UK with future growth plans to serve other global markets.
Ross Volk, Managing Director, MSC Cruises South Africa, said, “We are fully committed to help drive the country’s tourism industry and create employment opportunities along the way, which has and will continue to have a positive economic impact on the nation.
“This will be typified later with the start of the local cruise season and the arrival of ‘MSC Splendida’, MSC Cruises’ largest and most modern ship to serve the South African market,” he said.