Cruise terminal will change region’s tourism landscape: Union Minister

Shantanu Thakur lays stone for much-awaited facility at Vizag port

Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Shantanu Thakur on Friday laid the foundation for the construction of the long-awaited cruise terminal at the Visakhapatnam Port.

Mr. Shantanu Thakur was in the city to participate in a series of events.

“The cruise terminal can change the tourism landscape of the region,” Mr. Shantanu Thakur told the media.

Attributing the delay in the commencement of the project to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union Minister said it would be completed in one year.

Conceived about three years ago, the project envisaged development of a cruise-cum-coastal cargo terminal by reorienting the existing channel berth located in the outer harbour with the financial assistance Ministry of Tourism.

The proposal was to construct a 180-metre-long berth with two mooring dolphins on either side. With a total length of 330 metres, it would accommodate vessels of 300 metres LOA, 37.6 metres beam and 8.1 metres draft.

A terminal building of 2,000 sq.m. with all amenities such as gangways, lounge, restaurant, immigration and customs facilities, entertainment and shopping would also be provided for the benefit of tourists arriving by the cruise vessels.

Mr. Shantanu Thakur said the dedicated freight corridor being laid under the Sagarmala project from Visakhapatnam to Raipur to enable movement of containers arriving at the port was expected to be completed soon.

On the extension of the berth at the container terminal from 500 metres to 850 metres, he said it would be completed within three months.

Investments of about ₹26,000 crore secured by the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) during the Maritime India Summit would contribute to the economic progress and regional development of the State.

The port was also bringing in various infrastructure projects through the Sagarmala initiative. It had invested ₹150 crore for the development of the fishing harbour under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, a scheme to usher in blue revolution through sustainable development of the fisheries sector.

Earlier, Mr. Shantanu Thakur was received by VPT Chairman K. Rama Mohana Rao. Later, the Minister held a review meeting with the officials on the ongoing developmental activities in the port.

To a query, Mr. Thakur said the target for VPT for next year was fixed at 75 million tonnes.

He also offered prayers at the Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Simhachalam.

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