"The board of Mumbai port has already approved the concept of greenfield cruise terminal and the port has floated global tenders, inviting consultants to prepare a detailed report for the proposed dedicated cruise terminal," said P Mohanachandran, secretary, Mumbai Port.
According to shipping industry sources, a dedicated cruise terminal would enable Mumbai port to evacuate the passengers soon without obstructing the handling of cargo vessels, which is the main business of MbPT.
The sources added, "This greenfield project will help the port increase its revenue from cargo vessels, as the cruise vessels do not affect the berthing of cargo ships."
At present, the cruise vessels are handled at the port's Ballard Pier Extension (BPX) berth, which has a terminal building for this purpose. This multi-purpose berth is the only deep-drafted berth, which is free from all beam restrictions and capable of berthing vessels up to 10.5 metre draft.
Earlier, the international cruise operating major Star Cruise had chosen the Mumbai port as the home port for its cruise vessel Super Star Libra, which would make three calls at the port a week.
Mohanachandran said that the location of the greenfield cruise terminal is near Radio Club in south Mumbai. It would be a finger jetty and would be able to handle cruise vessels at both the sides.
The special approach road to this terminal would facilitate easy evacuation of tourists.
According to an MbPT official, the port would construct a berth, a trestle, mooring dolphins, walkways and a terminal building on the proposed berth of cruise terminal. It would also carry out capital dredging of the approach channel.
"The facilities onshore will be developed by the BOT operator. The BOT operator will be allowed to construct facilities such as a convention centre, a viewing gallery, duty free shops, malls, etc. Income from facilities provided will be claimed by the BOT operator. The revenue will be passed on to the port," said the MbPT official.
On the issue of the inability to give berth to cargo vessels in BPX due to Super Star Libra, Mohanachandran did not comment but said that a dedicated jetty would not only help the port, but would also mean lot of tourism potential to Mumbai city as a whole.
However, industry sources pointed out that the handling of cargo vessels are affected due to allotment of BPX to Super Star Libra. Moreover, as BPX is a customs notified area, the entry and exits are highly regulated, creating a barrier for the free flow necessary for a cruise terminal.
Mumbai Port: Cruising Dreams
- The proposed cruise terminal will be sighted on the south of Sassoon Dock and on west of the main harbour channel in such a way that minimum dredging is done to the approach channel.
- The berth will be double banking connected by a 15 metre wide trestle.
- Near the mainland, it should have facilities for entertainment avenues, with a ground plus two-storeyed structure for various utilities such as a convention centre, conference halls, duty-free shopping, shopping malls, entertainment, indoor games, parlour and a viewing gallery with restaurant apart from a sizeable car parking facility for tourist buses, taxis and cars.
- A marina to serve small crafts for short cruise to Elephanta Caves and Mandwa may also be provided along the trestle.
- The facilities will comprise of a berth which would have a size of 200 metre x 50 metre, a trestle having 15 metre width, mooring dolphins and walkways, a terminal building of suitable size on the berth, etc.