President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday, 22 November 2023, deliver the keynote address at the inauguration of the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban, formerly known as the Durban Cruise Terminal.
MSC Cruises entered into a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Transnet in 2019 to design, build and operate the new cruise terminal at the Port of Durban, which will serve as the primary homeport for MSC’s annual KZN cruise season.
The cruise terminal had a soft opening last cruise season when MSC Orchestra homeported in Durban for the summer season between November and March, but the official opening was postponed due to the emergence of the Omicron variant and ongoing COVID disruption.
The cruise terminal will now be officially opened by the President ahead of the 2023/24 season.
The new cruise terminal is a modern and tech-savvy facility provides a seamless experience for guests, as well as a range of ancillary services such as shops, cafes and more.
The multi-user terminal has made Durban an even more desirable destination for cruise ships from all over the world, with the luxury cruise line Silversea having already confirmed that it will be joining MSC in sailing South African itineraries from the terminal.
Silver Spirit will cruise twice from Durban during 2024, with both 6-night cruises (departing January 21st, and February 5th), sailing along the SA coast to Richard’s Bay and Cape Town.
MSC Cruises meanwhile, is bringing MSC Splendida to Durban for the coming cruise season, making it the largest cruise vessel ever to homeport in South Africa. She will sail several dozen 3-, 4- and 5-night cruises in the Indian Ocean.
The opening of the new cruise terminal is therefore a major boost to the local cruise sector and wider tourism industry, as well as the economy as a whole, with 70% of procurement relating to the terminal havingbeen sourced in South Africa.
In addition, all consultants and experts are South African, including architects, engineers, attorneys, and the construction company, according to a statement from the Presidency.
This launch event is therefore a significant showcase of MSC cruises’ firm commitment to the KwaZulu Natal Region and to South Africa as a whole. The cruise line has spent R297 million on the terminal itself, with a further R30 million earmarked for future expansion.
MSC Cruises said in a statement that the required expansion of the terminal is a positive indicator of the increased demand for cruising in the country.
The terminal opening will be attended by government and private sector partners, tourism partners, media and MSC cruises executives.