MSC Cruises has released more details of its planned R200 mill dedicated Durban cruise terminal.
The company uses Durban as a homeport each year during the winter season.
Durban Cruise Terminal will replace the current N-shed passenger terminal, which the company said was outdated and has been in use since the 1980s.
The details coincided with an announcement that MSC will send two cruise ship classes to South Africa next year.
“This multi-user terminal will make Durban an even more desirable destination for cruise ships from all over the world,” said Ross Volk, MSC Cruises Managing Director, South Africa. He also said that the decision to invest in the cruise terminal, and bring two ships to South Africa was driven by “significant growth” in demand.
The new terminal will be built by the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Consortium (KTC). “All the partners in the initiative will shortly sign off the final design of the terminal and ground-breaking is scheduled to begin in November this year,” said Volk.
He also admitted that the design phase took a little longer than first anticipated. The cruise terminal is now expected to be operational by January, 2021.
The 3,200-passenger ‘MSC Musica’ will homeport in South Africa for the 2020/21 cruise season, while ‘MSC Opera’, a smaller 2,500-pax ship, will homeport in January during the same period.
Local media said that MSC Cruises was also in discussions with Cape Town authorities to improve traffic flow from Cape Town’s harbour terminal entrance, located in the V&A Waterfront.
“The terminal is the visitor’s first introduction to the city, and an opportunity is to create a positive impression of Cape Town and South Africa,” reportedly said Donald Kau, a V&A spokesperson. “To that end, all stakeholders have a role to play and considerations are focused on how to plan for and manage traffic access on cruise dates and improved scheduling for disembarkation and boarding.”
“That will be the focus going forward ahead of what is confirmed to be increased visitor numbers for the start of the season in October this year,” he added.