A cruise terminal for luxury liners too may become part of the master plan for the proposed port at Vizhinjam, hitherto conceived only as a container transhipment facility.
AECOM, technical consultant for the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract for the port, has reported that the cruise terminal could be built without much additional capital expenditure, A.S. Sureshbabu, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Vizhinjam International Seaports Limited (VISL), told The Hindu on Monday.
This can give a big boost to the tourism industry in Kovalam, the State’s premier tourism centre, he said. When implemented, the cruise terminal at Vizhinjam will be the first of its kind in the country, he added.
Another unexpected development is the finding, during the geophysical survey in the proposed site, that the construction of the transhipment terminal will not require any underwater rock blasting.
Survey just now completed by Furgo Geotech Private Limited, consultant for geo-technical matters connected with the proposed port, found three seabed types in the area. The seabed is clayey in part of the area, sandy in another part and has rock outcrops in still another part. No rock blasting will be needed, according to the consultant.
Mr. Sureshbabu said the studies required for the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) too had been completed on June 30. The master plan, incorporating the cruise terminal in the project, was now under preparation for finalising the tender document. It would be possible to conduct the public hearing connected with the EIA in another month’s time.