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UAE expanding port facilities for cruise ships

Dubai: Abu Dhabi and Dubai are expanding their port infrastructure in an effort to boost each city’s reputation as a cruise destination.

Dubai is currently expanding its existing cruise terminal port Mina Rashid and Abu Dhabi is renovating Mina Zayed, which is the old cargo terminal in the city.

Abu Dhabi has erected a temporary terminal to cater to cruise passengers, while the Dubai expansion is in progress.

“The first phase of the new cruise terminal under construction is expected to be ready by the end of this year, and it is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014,” a DP World spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Gulf News.

The new Terminal (T2) at Mina Rashid will cover an area of 24,000 square metres and have roughly 50,000 square metres of car parking space, including room for 36 buses, 150 taxis. and employee and private parking.

“With both the new T2 and existing Terminal, Dubai Cruise Terminal at Mina Rashid will be able to handle 14,000 passengers in a single day,” the spokesperson stated.

The Dubai Cruise Terminal development will also include a retail expansion, which will feature retail stores and a business centre along with facilities for Dubai Police and other authorities.

DP World did not say how much the total expansion will cost.

Dubai Cruise Tourism (DCT), an arm of Dubai’s Department of Tourism Commerce and Marketing (DTCM), expects 300,000 cruise tourists in the 2013/2014 season, a decrease from the 408,000 tourists in 2013/2013. DCT stated the forecasted decrease is due to the “cyclical nature of the cruise industry” and that the industry will grow in the long term parallel to the Dubai Terminal expansion.

“The planned expansion of Dubai Cruise Terminal…will add additional facilities of more than 27,000 square metres, meaning it will have the capacity to …turnaround five cruise ships simultaneously from 2014,” a DTCM spokesperson told Gulf News in an emailed statement.

In Abu Dhabi, there has been a decrease in scheduled ship calls during the 2013/2014 season with 76 calls from 14 ships expected compared to the 96 calls from 13 ships last season. Despite the decrease in ship calls, Abu Dhabi is expecting a higher number of passengers because of the larger ships that will be coming to Abu Dhabi this season.

“We expect 193,456 passenger arrivals this season — an increase of 13 per cent over last year,” Sultan Al Dhaheri, Tourism Eco-Systems and Leisure Director, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) told Gulf News in an emailed statement.

In a recent statement, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), the group behind the Abu Dhabi Mina Zayed expansion, stated the new terminal and facilities would be developed in line with market demand.

“We believe that our significant investment in improved facilities, additional security measures and improved direct access will enhance our visitors’ experience and increase Abu Dhabi’s appeal as an attractive destination,” Mohammad Al Shamisi, ADPC Acting Chief Executive Officer said.

The erected temporary terminal at Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi is spread across 1,600 square metres and features retail shops and facilities for local authorities.

“We are working [in collaboration] with the Abu Dhabi Ports Company to develop Mina Zayed as the site for a permanent cruise terminal with four berths allocated for ships in excess of 100,000 tonnage and 300 metres in length,” Al Dhaheri said.

Abu Dhabi is also currently assessing the potential for an addition port in the emirate. The potential location for a secondary, stop-over port is in Al Gharbia, more commonly known as the Western Region.