Cruise terminal in Chennai to be ready in a month

Cruise terminal in Chennai to be ready in a month

Chennai’s status as a holiday destination for cruise ships is set to get a boost in two years. To lure tourist operators, the Union shipping ministry has offered them special rates for a cruise call. Within a month, construction of the cruise terminal at Chennai port is set to be complete. A cruise liner from the US is set to make first use of the terminal when it arrives here in April.
“Cruise operators prepare schedules two years ahead of time. The positive impact of the concessions offered to the cruise operators will be felt in two years from now,” said a Chennai port official.

Chennai port, on average, receives less than 10 cruise vessels a year. In comparison, Mumbai receives more than 50 vessels.

“As the west coast is a popular cruise circuit, Mumbai gets more traffic. Cruise liner traffic depends on the city’s tourism potential. The cruise terminal is just a facility where passengers will spend very little time,” the official said. The cruise terminal at Chennai port will be the first on the east coast of India. All other four cruise terminals are on the west coast-Mumbai, Mormugao, Mangalore and Kochi, that attract ships from the Middle East and Europe. Compared to the regular docks, cruise terminals are cleaner and offer passengers transportation arrangements to nearby tourist spots.

The shipping ministry aims to increase the cruise liner traffic to India by ten times and achieve a target of 700 vessels a year. To start with, Chennai, Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore and Kochi are being developed as cruise hubs. The composite port charges for a cruise call is fixed at $0.35/ gross register tonnage for the first 12 hours at all major ports in India. The cruise liners will not be charged for berth hire, port dues, pilot age and passenger fee.

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