The Visakhapatnam Port Trust will start construction of the much-awaited International cruise terminal project in August at a cost of Rs 103 crore. Presently, it is awaiting clearance from the state government’s CRZ committee and once it is approved, it will go to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) for approval and once cleared, the construction of the project will begin, said Chairman of VPT K. Rama Mohana Rao. If everything goes according to the plan, the project is likely to completed by the end of 2022, as out of the sanctioned Rs. 103 crore already about Rs. 70 crore has been released.
Speaking to Hello Vizag here on Tuesday, Mr. Rama Mohan Rao said that the cruise terminal project will be taken up after the submission of DPR by IIT Chennai. The cost of the project is being shared equally by the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. The cost of the project pegged at Rs. 103 crore and once the clearances are obtained it will be completed in about 18 months, he said. The cruise terminal with requisite infrastructure including world-class amenities, resting facilities, parking, road connectivity will be the newly added attraction in the port city and give a much-needed boost to promote tourism in Visakhapatnam and its neighbourhood.
The cruise terminal project will come up near the Vedanta berth and will be having a draft of at least 6.5 meters to 8.5 meters to accommodate cruise ships varying from 50,000 gross tonnage to 1 lakh GT or Panamax size. The berth will be about 330 mt long with a beam of 28 to 36 mt and will have sufficient space to accommodate cruise liners carrying around 2,000 to 2,500 passengers.
Once the final approval obtained, VPT will call for bids for the construction of the cruise terminal. In the past year, due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, plans of the cruise terminal got stuck. Stating further, Mr. Rao said “apart from ensuring faster evacuation cargo, we will also keen on promoting tourism as part of an initiative to give a big boost to port-led development. For cruise terminal purpose, we have already earmarked 10 acres out of 30 acres of land required for the terminal complex, he added.
The IIT-Madras suggested the berth design and the architectural designing of the cruise building will be done by Creative Group from Mumbai. Apart from the basic amenities, the cruise terminal will have duty-free shopping, souvenir shops, a cafeteria, parking space, and rooms for recreation. All the requisite greenery will be developed around the terminal building.