UK Port operator Associated British Ports (ABP) will open a new £55M (US$73M) cruise terminal at the port of Southampton next year
Built in partnership with MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the port’s fifth terminal for cruise passengers will open in time for the 2021 cruise season. ABP Southampton director Alastair Welch said the investment, which comes amidst Covid-19’s calamitous impact on the cruise sector, was “a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise.”
The new terminal will feature roof-mounted solar power and shore power connectivity to enable cruise ships with the necessary technology to ‘plug in’ while docked in port. The project received an £8M grant from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund.
ABP said the investment will strengthen the port of Southampton’s position as Europe’s leading cruise turnaround port and the UK’s number one departure port. Mr Welch said “We’re very pleased to announce this major advance in our cruise infrastructure at the port, delivering further access to Southampton for the industry, while supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality.”
Solent LEP director and leader of Southampton City Council said "While both the Council and the LEP continue to work with businesses facing a very challenging winter, we are committed to ensuring we can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with the strongest foundations for future growth. I’m pleased that this investment joins a growing list of public and private commitments to making our city greener, fairer and healthier, while providing much needed jobs in our economic renewal."
The Minister for Maritime at the Department for Transport Robert Courts said "As we continue to support the cruise sector in its restart and recovery, it’s great to see government funding being used to help deliver better services for passengers.
"This next-generation facility also showcases to ports around the world how we’re pioneering the use of green technology."
Cruise shipping continues to suffer from the impact of the global pandemic. Last week the segment’s largest operator Carnival Corp announced extended pauses well into 2021 on its Seabourn Cruise, Princess Cruises and Holland America Lines. UK operator P&O Cruises, another Carnival subsidiary, has extended its suspension in operations through to April 2021 citing “current uncertainty around European ports of call” impacting sailings on its vessels Iona, Britannia, Azura, Ventura, Arcadia and Aurora.
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