SA Cruise News

Everything we know about the planned new Durban Cruise Terminal so far

The initial renderings of the new Durban Cruise Terminal have changed significantly, and new detailed designs are being drawn up this year, according to Gianluca Suprani, MSC Cruises head of global port development and shore activities.

The agreement to build the new cruise terminal was signed between Transnet National Ports Authority and the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) consortium last year. KCT will finance, build, operate and maintain the new cruise terminal.

Cruise ship terminal Durban

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The R200-million project will be 70% owned by MSC Cruises, with the rest going to broad-based black economic empowerment investment company Africa Armada Consortium.

The new cruise terminal will be built at the entrance to the Port of Durban, and like the Dubai Cruise Terminal in Port Rashid, is expected to become part of a total redevelopment of the area.

In the case of the Durban Cruise Terminal, its development will coincide with plans to extend the beachfront promenade from uShaka beach southwards to the harbour entrance in what the eThekwini municipality calls the Point Waterfront Development.

“The detailed designs for the project have taken longer because of the magnitude of the intended greenfield project,” says Suprani. “The detailed design will differ from the initial conceptual visuals that were circulated a year ago.”

The initial visuals (pictured above) were created by a European company, but the final design will be done by a local firm and will include “Zulu characteristics”, said Suprani.

The plan at present is for the Durban Cruise Terminal to be ready for operation by October 2020, ahead of the 2020/2021 cruise season, which runs from November to April. It will take around 18 months to build the new terminal, and work will begin in January, 2019.

Although the new cruise terminal will be 70% owned by MSC Cruises, it won’t be for the exclusive use of MSC.

According to Transnet National Ports Authority chief executive Shulami Qalinge, the new terminal will be capable of accommodating more than one ship simultaneously, with embarkation and disembarkation of passengers on multiple vessels occurring at once.

Qalinge says the wider vision for the new cruise terminal is to position Durban as a smart port city and a world-class cruise capital that will ultimately create jobs, introduce new technologies and grow tourism.


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There will be parking for 200 vehicles and kerbside drop-off facilities for 12 buses, dedicated baggage drop-off areas, separate screening and temporary holding areas, as well as separate passenger entry and exit points.

The Durban Cruise Terminal will also be a multi-use facility with a retail component, as well as multipurpose training, conferencing and events facilities, like the Cape Town Cruise Terminal, which remains in operation for non-cruise events outside of the annual cruise season.

The planned terminal will also be a multi-use facility with a retail component, as well as multipurpose training, conferencing and events facilities.

Qalinge says the new terminal will attract larger cruise ships and more mainstream cruise lines to South Africa. Through this, the South African cruise season could also be extended, Qalinge said.

During the new cruise terminal’s construction, R3-million will be spent training 100 people to work in the direct operation of the cruise terminal, but KCT expects the project to generate an additional 10,000 jobs through growth in the number of cruise ships coming to Durban.

Cruise ship calls to Durban will increase from 60 a year to more than 150 a year by 2040 with cruise tourism numbers expected to grow from 200,000 a year to over 700,000 a year, according to KCT and the TNPA.

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