A LONG -AWAITED cruise terminal set to bring millions of pounds into the Southampton economy will open next year.
A fifth cruise terminal at the Port of Southampton is going to open for the 2021 cruise season, it has been revealed.
The £55m investment will also see shore power connectivity installed at the site.
This will provide shore-side electrical power to cruise ships.
The new cruise terminal will also benefit from roof-mounted solar power.
The move is expected to bring millions of pounds into the city but exact figures are yet to be revealed.
Associated British Ports (ABP) said thanks to a partnership with cruise giants MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, the port’s newest terminal will welcome the next generation of ships “in terms of size, capacity and technology”.
An exact opening date is yet to be confirmed.
Port bosses said the investment will strengthen the Port of Southampton’s position “as Europe’s leading cruise turn-around port and the UK’s number one departure port”.
Alastair Welch, director of ABP Southampton, 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, whilst supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality. This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.”
The project has received support from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Government’s Getting Building Fund with an £8m grant.
Christopher Hammond, leader of Southampton City Council and Solent LEP director, said: “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, whilst providing much needed jobs in our economic renewal.”
The number of jobs set to be created is yet to be revealed.
The announcement comes as wider plans to transform the so-called Mayflower Quarter – the area between Southampton Central Railway Station and the Mayflower Park – are currently being drawn up.
City leaders said the new cruise terminal will mark “a major milestone” in the recovery of both the city and the cruise industry post Covid-19.
Robert Courts MP, Minister for Maritime, Department for Transport, said: “A new terminal will create even more jobs and boost the area’s economy. 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 right here in the UK.”
A number of cruise companies have also welcomed the plan.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, said: “We are in a unique position that not only will we be committing to having an MSC Cruises’ ship home port from Southampton every year, but several of our ships will be visiting Southampton as a destination as part of our wider cruise programme.”
Steve Moeller, senior vice president of commercial development at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, added: “This agreement marks the continuation of the strong partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and the Port of Southampton and demonstrates our commitment to the region.”
Giles Semper, chief executive at Go!Southampton, said: “While ABP estimates the value to the city of each cruise visit to be £2.7m, the challenge for all of us is to raise this figure by persuading passengers and crew to spend more time and money in Southampton. We would also like to see the masterplanners for the Mayflower Quarter engaging seriously with ABP to integrate the cruise offer into the layout of the city centre.”
Meanwhile, work to demolish the Solent Flour Mills along the docks is under way. It comes as earlier this year ABP said demand for port land is “significant” and the demolition of the empty building would optimise the amount of ground level storage within the Western Docks.