MSC Cruises has signed a long term commercial partnership with ABP Southampton, which includes a commitment to build a fifth passenger terminal.
Southampton is Europe’s leading cruise turnaround port, and the UK’s number one departure port.
The new terminal will be ready for the 2021 cruise season and will become the home port of ‘MSC Magnifica’ for part of her second full season sailing from the UK.
MSC Cruises has confirmed that there will be at least one ship homeporting from the UK for the duration of the partnership. as well as several of the companies 17 ships visiting the port and the UK, as a destination on sailings, including grand voyages, northern Europe adventures and transatlantic crossings.
Portsmouth based construction company, Brymor Group, was awarded the building contract for ABP’s new cruise terminal building ‘T5’ at Southampton worth £27 mill, the group’s biggest contract to date.
The building will encompass green and renewable materials, including pre-cast piling and associated foundations, deep drainage, fibre reinforced ground floor slab, curved glulam beams and roof with exposed soffits, steel frame, curtain walling and cladding, internal finishes, MEP services, external works and hard landscaping, link bridge for connection to the ship to shore air bridge.
Work on the 11, 695 sq m project is already underway. The new terminal will be located at 102 berth in the Western Docks and will be linked to strategic transport routes to offer passengers the maximum space when arriving for embarkation.
Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises UK & Ireland Managing Director, said: “Whilst we’ve always had loyal passengers from the UK & Ireland, over the last five years we’ve been on a real journey in the UK market.
“We were delighted to see such strong organic growth which lead to our first ever full season sailing from the UK in 2018, followed by the naming ceremony of ‘MSC Bellissima’ in the port of Southampton bringing guests from around the world to the city to celebrate the milestone event in 2019. We ended 2019 with the most successful year of sales ever in the UK & Ireland, something we are incredibly proud of.
“MSC Cruises is serious about the UK market and now more than ever we believe in the potential here and making this long term commitment to bringing even more passengers to Southampton is evidence of that. In 2017 we invested in a new office in the UK, we then focused on growing our teams and putting the right expertise in place to ensure we can provide the best possible support to our passengers and our travel agent partners, and now we are really proud to be further investing in the UK cruise industry at this incredibly important time for both the industry and the UK economy in having a home for our ships here in the UK,” he said.
The new terminal, which has received support from the Solent LEP and the Government’s ‘Getting Building Programme’, will benefit from roof-mounted solar power and will also have shore power connectivity installed.
In August, MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to resume sailings following the global pause in operations, due to the pandemic.
‘MSC Grandiosa’, the companies’ flagship, sailed on 16th August from Genoa and continues to sail in the Western Mediterranean thanks to the health and safety protocols that were designed at the outset to adapt to a fluctuating health situation ashore.
This protocol is built around a nine pillar strategy that includes universal testing of all guests and crew, protected shore excursions and specially designed ventilation for the ships, as well as all the measures implemented ashore such as social distancing and the wearing of masks when this isn’t possible.