Visakhapatnam: The International Cruise Terminal, now open for operations at the Visakhapatnam Port today, is set to serve as a pivotal gateway for both domestic and international cruise tourism along the eastern coast of India. This world-class facility promises to offer a transformative experience to tourists while fostering economic growth and benefiting local communities.
The terminal was inaugurated today in the presence of Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, and Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Tourism (State), Shripad Naik, among other distinguished dignitaries. Along with the world-class state-of-the-art Vizag International Cruise Terminal (VICT), Sonowal also dedicated projects worth ₹216.53 crores to the nation.
He also inaugurated Covered Storage Shed-2 in the port area with a capacity to store 84,000 tonnes of cargo, built with an investment of ₹33.80 crores. It has a mist arrangement for dust suppression to reduce dust pollution.
Sonowal further inaugurated a ‘world-class’ truck parking terminal spread over an area of 20 acres of portland and developed with an investment of ₹36.05 crores, which can accommodate 666 vehicles. It also has a 100-bed dormitory, shops, ATM, fuel station, weigh bridge of 100-tonne capacity, workshop and servicing stations and other facilities for the staff operating the trucks.
Besides, the Minister inaugurated an oil refinery berth with a length of 243 MT to enhance capacity addition by 3.81 MMT and constructed at a cost of ₹50.63 crores, which is expected to boost the capacity of the Vizag Port (VPA) towards becoming a regional hub of cruise and cargo traffic shortly.
The VICT has been developed with an investment of ₹96.05 crores with a grant of ₹38.50 crores by the Union Ministry of Tourism. It can accommodate 2000 passenger vessels, requiring a draft of 8.1 meters.
The port has also started construction of four Covered Storage Sheds to store bulk cargo with a capacity of 2,94,000 MT at a cost of ₹116.04 crores. Revamping of oil refineries I, II & III Berths is going on with an investment of ₹167.66 crores to handle 14.5-meter draft or 85,000 Deadweight tonnage (DWT) vessels.
Sonowal said, “With robust communications gateways via railways, roadways and airways, the revamped marine waterways are likely to add Visakhapatnam’s potential to become a major hub of cruise tourism and maritime trade”.
The International Cruise Terminal will operate as a Cruise Terminal from November to March, catering to the needs of passengers from around the world. During the remaining months of April to October, the berth will be utilized for coastal cargo operations.
This project was initiated in response to a proposal from the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways. The Ministry of Tourism approved part funding for the development of the Cruise-Cum Cargo Terminal at the channel berth in the outer harbour of Visakhapatnam Port by the Vishakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) under the Scheme of Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development during the financial year 2018-19.
Expressing the government’s commitment towards developing world-class infrastructure to support and enable the growth of cruise tourism and maritime trade, Sonowal said the volume of cruise ships will increase from 208 in 2023 to 500 in 2030 and up to 1,100 by 2047. According to the Minister, the number of passengers availing cruise services is also likely to increase from 9.5 lakhs in 2030 to 45 lakhs in 2047. Similarly, economic potential is also expected to increase from ₹712 crores in 2016 to ₹35,500 crores by 2041. The Maritime India Vision 2030 roadmap is estimated to create 2,00,000 new jobs, in the Cruise tourism sector, he pointed out.
The total approved project cost, as provided by Vishakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), amounted to ₹77 crores. Of this, the Ministry of Tourism committed 50 per cent of funding, equivalent to ₹38.50 crores, with the remaining expenditure being met by Vishakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) from their internal resources.
It may be noted that out of the approved Ministry of Tourism funding of ₹38.50 crores, a sum of ₹29.91 crores, constituting 77.6 per cent of the approved funding, was already released and fully utilized by Vishakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT).
The Cruise Terminal Building spans an area of 4,580.46 sq. meters, encompassing both the ground floor and first floor. It is equipped with essential facilities, including lounges, customs, immigration, quarantine counters, baggage handling facilities, scanning, concourse, restaurant, entertainment, shopping, health, and business exhibitions, money exchange outlets, CCTV coverage, and ample parking space.
Features of Cruise Terminal:
- A berth measuring 180 meters in length.
- Four mooring dolphins, two on each side, extend the total length to 300 meters.
- A terminal building covering 2,000 sq. meters, replete with all essential amenities.
- Adequate parking space for seven buses, 70 cars, and 40 two-wheelers.
- Excellent road connectivity to facilitate easy access.
– global bihari bureau