VISAKHAPATNAM: An International Marine Cruise Tourism (IMCT) will be introduced in Visakhapatnam with the launch of cruise Panamax vessels to key tourism destinations including Singapore and Sri Lanka from Vizag port, according to the combined plans and efforts of the Centre’s ministry of tourism, and ports, shipping and waterways.
Each vessel can have a capacity of ferrying 2,000 to 2,500 passengers. A cruise terminal berth (CTB) attached with a modern terminal building is being built in the area of 2,000 square meters by Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) at the channel berth in the outer harbour of the Vizag port at a cost of Rs 96.05 crore. This includes Rs 64.24 crore for the berth and Rs 31.81 crore for the terminal building.
The facilities include passenger gangways, lounges, restaurants, entertainment and recreation shopping, customs and immigration at the terminal building in the area of 15,000 square meters behind the berth.
New Delhi-based Creative Group, an architectural consultancy, was entrusted with the design work. The overall length of the CTB will be 330 meters and the width 15 meters. The design work of the berth was entrusted to the IIT Madras.
All requisite clearances except an environmental clearance from the state government have been made for the CTB, for which the works will be awarded shortly.
At present, a Vizag-Andaman passenger ship is seasonally operated at the port, and this will also be shifted to the new terminal. Cochin, Goa and Chennai ports have such cruise terminals at present in the country.
Confirming this to this newspaper, VPT chairman K. Rama Mohana Rao said, “We have received no objection certificate from the Eastern Naval Command for CTB for the cruise terminal. We will award the work upon obtaining environmental clearance from the AP state level Environment Impact Assessment Authority.”
Nearly Rs 36 crore of the total project cost would be borne by tourism, which has already released some amount for the project, a senior port official said while adding that the project will hopefully be operational by end of 2022.