Union Minister for road transport & highways, shipping and water resources Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday laid the foundation stone for an international cruise terminal in Mumbai.
Spread over 4.15 lakh square feet and costing about `300 crore, the terminal is being built with a capacity to host 700,000 passengers. The terminal is expected to be ready by 2019.Sanjay Bhatia, chairman of the Mumbai Port Trust, said the aim “is to make this place in Mumbai comparable with Miami.” Just like the port city of Miami on Florida’s southeastern tip, Mumbai is aiming to develop a floating restaurant and a marina along with the cruise terminal. The Miami beach is also famous for its colourful art deco buildings, white sand, surfside hotels and trendsetting nightclubs.
Bhatia said the new terminal will have restaurants, retail spaces and will be open to local citizens for recreation, leisure and shopping. There will also be separate lounges for arrival and departure. Bhatia added, “The project will be undertaken in two phases, wherein by the end of 2018, we will be able to cater to 200,000 passengers. Post the completion by the end of 2019, the new terminal will cater to more than 700,000 passengers, with facilities at par with international standards”.
In 2016-17, the Mumbai Port received 55 cruise ships carrying about 60,000 passengers. In future, the city is expected to handle about 80% of India’s cruise passengers, with an increase expected in both international and domestic cruise tourists. Gadkari said the government is aiming to increase cruise-liner traffic to India 10-fold to 700 vessels in a year. To start with, five ports, Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Chennai and Kochi, will be developed as cruise hubs.
According to a cruise tourism road-map prepared by consultants M/s.Bermelo & Ajamil and Ernst & Young, close to 40 lakh passengers are expected to visit India in the coming years of which 30 lakh passengers are expected to take cruises from the Mumbai Port. The operations and maintenance (O&M) of the terminal will be carried out on a public-private partnership (PPP) model. MbPT plans to issue tenders inviting bids for O&M in a month from now.