Cape Town – South Africa’s oldest working harbour is finally set to get a luxury cruise terminal with the V&A Waterfront being announced as the preferred bidder by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).
TNPA said it had awarded V&A Waterfront the status of preferred bidder for an estimated R179 million investment in an agreement that includes operation, maintenance and transfer of ownership back to TNPA after 20 years.
The cruise industry is big business with conservative estimates set at about 10 000 visitors to the province each year, generating around R200m for the local economy.
In 2012 Transnet announced a multi-billion-rand plan to build a dedicated cruise liner terminal in Cape Town but a number of red flags have snagged the tender application process and indirectly stunting the growth of the industry to date.
The initial cruise terminal issue started when Cape Town’s cruise tourism received a knock after the Department of Home Affairs banned cruise liners longer than 200m from berthing at the Waterfront.
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While the Cruise Terminal has been pegged to remain at E Berth in Duncan docks, the V&A Waterfront investment will open up access to one of the most scenic ports in the world, set against the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain - coupled with the appeal of a mixed-use destination that not only offers a broad hotel offering but a host of leisure activities and tours that depart from the V&A Waterfront.
TNPA said in a statement that once completed, it will be able to accommodate the port's current and future passenger vessel fleet. It is also envisaged that the upgraded facility will house value-added retail and hospitality services.
‘A gateway to a unique African experience in cruise tourism’
The award follows an open and public process in line with Transnet's governance and procurement processes.
TNPA Chief Executive, Richard Vallihu said, “As landlord and ports master planner, Section 56 of the National Ports Act mandates TNPA to contract with private terminal operators to design, construct, rehabilitate, develop, finance, maintain and operate port terminals or facilities.”
He said the Cape Town Cruise Terminal is one of the section 56 initiatives that Transnet has identified for the Western Cape.
All international cruise liner vessels are required to dock at the Port of Cape Town as the first port of call in line with a Directive from the Minister of Home Affairs under the Immigration Act 13 of 2011. South Africa’s cruise season runs from October to April and while activity has increased in the past 10 years, and passenger volumes had doubled globally South Africa accounts for an estimated 0.6 percent of overall passenger activity.
“The upgraded Cape Town cruise terminal facility to be developed by V&A Waterfront will be a gateway to a unique African experience in cruise tourism,” said Vallihu.
“The city will benefit from a world-class facility that will attract greater international cruise liner calls, create jobs and strengthen the tourism offering of not only the Mother City, but South Africa as a whole.”
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