Andhra Pradesh

VPT to issue order for EIA studyfor global cruise terminal project

A file photo of 1989 Russia-built cruise liner Silver Discoverer that made a dawn-to-dusk halt at Visakhapatnam port in January, 2019.

A file photo of 1989 Russia-built cruise liner Silver Discoverer that made a dawn-to-dusk halt at Visakhapatnam port in January, 2019.  

Terminal design ready and offshore studies done, says Deputy Chairman

In sync with the Centre’s focus on making the major ports more viable through diversification, Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is all set to issue the work order for undertaking an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study on developing an international cruise terminal.

The project, if materialises, will be the first-of-its-kind facility in Andhra Pradesh, the VPT officials claimed.

“We are in advance stage of finalising the agency which will undertake the EIA study. The study will take three months. It will be followed by the tendering process and obtaining clearance from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change,” VPT Deputy Chairman P.L. Haranadh told The Hindu.

₹77-crore project

The estimated project cost has been put at ₹77 crore, of which 50% is likely to be released by the Ministry of Tourism and the rest will be met from the internal accruals of the VPT. “The VPT is planning issue the work order for the international cruise terminal by June-end,” said Mr. Harnadh.

The terminal, with the proposed length of 300 metre, can handle cruise vessels with the capacity of accommodating around 2,000 passengers. The project, once materialises, will be a shot in the arm of Visakhapatnam which aspires to be a global tourist hub. The city has already a good air connectivity to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Dubai. Efforts are on to revive the operations of low-cost foreign carriers to Colombo and Bangkok, he said.

“The VPT has already got the terminal design done by Delhi-based Creative Group. Coastal, offshore and other studies were carried out by IIT, Chennai and Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune. Both the institutes have given favourable reports,” said Mr. Harnadh.

Day-long halt proposed

There are plans to make the project operational by introducing day-long visits by cruise terminals. During the halt, the tourists can be taken around the major tourist destinations in the city, including Beach Road, 17th Century Dutch township in Bhimili, Buddhist heritage sites at Thotlakonda and Bojjanakonda and the Kailasagiri park.

“Once the demand picks up, the terminal can be converted into a hub terminal in the second phase. Cruise terminals are now under operation in Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Goa and New Mangalore,” said the VPT deputy Chairman.

A team from the VPT went to Goa and Mumbai to study the business models sometime ago. The proposed cruise terminal may come up between the Vedanta General Cargo Berth and Channel Berth, where enough draft is available for anchoring bigger vessels.

A large cruise liner Silver Discoverer operated by Silver Sea Cruises carrying 100 foreigners spent a day last in the city year. The passengers had opined that the city had a tremendous potential to attract global tourists.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 5:54:15 PM |

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