The Mumbai Port, one of the oldest in the country, will be investing Rs 225 crore to build a modern passenger terminal that can cater to cruise ships.
“We have identified cruise shipping as a focus area, which can help the city as well. We will soon be floating tenders for a passenger terminal which will be built on a PPP model,” Mumbai Port Trust chairman Sanjay Bhatia said.
The cost of the project is Rs 225 crore, he said, adding that earlier estimate was Rs 130 crore.
Work on the terminal, which will resemble an airport and have the capacity to handle thousands of passengers disembarking from a single ship, will be over in next two years, he said.
The Port Trust, which would welcome its first big cruise ship on Saturday, has dedicated a berth to such ships and expects to get 59 ships by next May, Bhatia said, adding this will go up to 100 in the season after it and to 150 the year later.
Every ship will bring at least 2,000 passengers, which will support the local economy, he said.
‘Genting Dream’, on her maiden voyage from Germany, will be calling on Mumbai port on Saturday. Bhatia also said that the port has reached an agreement with Costa Ships for a long term use of facilities.
“They will be making Mumbai the base from which cruise vacations will be starting and ending and the partnership is long-term,” Bhatia said.
Till the new terminal gets ready, the port will use the existing facilities, Bhatia said, stressing that certain facilities have been upgraded.
The port is also giving a slew of incentives to cruise operators. These include doing away with hosting charges, concession in cruise charges, and standard operating protocols for customs and immigration checks.
The port is also looking to tap the domestic opportunity, Bhatia said, informing that a committee of chairmen of ports on the Western coast has been formed under his chairmanship by the Union Shipping Ministry for this purpose.
The port has appointed a global consultant to study domestic cruise tourism and ways to popularise it, he said.