Mumbai will be a cruising hub and have a 'world-class cruise terminal,' to be set up by the Mumbai Port Trust.
"Expression of Interests would be invited shortly for building the cruise terminal that would have a marina, a convention centre, hotels, entertainment places," Mumbai Port Trust deputy chairman Ashok Kumar Bal said.
This terminal is to be set up as a joint venture with public-private partnership.
"The port has made pioneering efforts to encourage cruise shipping in India. About 67,000 passengers took to cruise shipping last year. And this year, it is expected to cross 100,000," he said.
The port receives about 25-30 international cruise ships now, up from 18 in 2004-05, he said.
The global scenario for cruise shipping is gaining momentum, with an annual growth of 10-20 per cent in the cruise ship fleet and passengers. Mumbai, Kochi and Mormugao are the ports that are seeing an increase in cruise shipping.
Seeing a growth in people opting for cruise travel, the central government is working on a cruise shipping policy. With the economy growing at an impressive rate of 8 per cent per annum, the disposable income of a large section of society is also increasing.
Experience in the Caribbean, Latin American and South-East Asian countries indicates that a huge amount of foreign exchange can be earned by providing the right policy, environment and infrastructure for the growth of cruise shipping.
Efforts are also on to encourage coastal shipping to decongest Mumbai city, Bal said.
The National Shipping Board had a meeting with various stakeholders to elicit their views and identify their problems, he said. Soon, a report would be submitted to the government.
"There are plans to link Nariman Point and Borivali through coastal shipping. Similarly, Rewas, Mandwa and Navi Mumbai would be connected through sea," he said.
One of the proposals is to give 40 per cent discount to ship operators to encourage coastal shipping, Bal said.
A committee has been formed and it would submit a 'Detailed Project Report' identifying the various routes from Mumbai harbour to other destinations for transportation of cargo too.