The port city of Durban’s status as a leading cruise destination was cemented on Saturday, 16 November 2019 with a sod-turning ceremony to mark the start of construction of the new Durban passenger terminal. The ceremony coincided with the arrival of the MSC ORCHESTRA cruise liner on her maiden voyage to South African shores,
Transnet National Ports Authority concluded an agreement on 16 April 2018 with KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT) to finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer a new Cruise Terminal Facility in the Port of Durban by October 2020.
KCT was announced as the preferred bidder for the 25-year concession project in 2017. The company is a Joint Venture between MSC Cruises SA and Africa Armada Consortium, an investment company that empowers its black financiers through participation in economic activities, in particular port and logistics developments.
Speaking at the sod-turning ceremony, the General Manager for the Port of Durban, Moshe Motlohi, said that the port’s cruise sector developments reflected growing confidence in Durban as a cruise prospect.
“We thank MSC Cruises for continuously deploying their cruise vessels to the South African market, which has increased our country’s cruise competitiveness. The use of the Port of Durban a homeport for MSC cruise liners will see even more domestic and international tourists enjoying itineraries that take in our South African hub cruise ports of Durban and Cape Town, as well as ports in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Mauritius,” said Motlohi.
He added, “TNPA, in partnership with the City of Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal, is growing Durban as a Smart Port City and a world-class cruise capital. This aligns with the KZN Integrated Maritime Industry Development Strategy launched onboard the MSC Sinfonia in 2013, which highlighted Maritime Tourism as a catalyst for economic development.”
Motlohi said the new terminal development dovetails with the City of Durban’s new beachfront promenade extension from uShaka beach southwards to the harbour entrance, as well as the future development of Durban Point Waterfront.
Transnet plans to commence construction on its own section of the promenade in Quarter 3 of 2020 which will connect to the new Cruise Terminal, allowing cruise passengers direct access and connections to the Central Beachfront with relative ease and safety.
“This is going to change the face of Durban,” said Motlohi. “The cruise industry is the fastest-growing category in the leisure travel market, and TNPA’s decision to build a dedicated cruise terminal in the port is well supported,” he added.
The new green and energy-efficient terminal will boast a host of new features and facilities, with a retail component, as well as multi-purpose training, conferencing and events facilities.