Penang Port and RCL Development Holdings have signed a joint venture agreement to redevelop Penang’s cruise terminal to accommodate mega liners.
Under the redevelopment plans, Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal’s existing 400m pier will be extended by 220m. This will enable the pier to handle two mega-sized cruise ships on the outer berths. In addition, the pier’s inner berths will be able to handle one small and one medium-sized ships by 2019.
This means that Oasis-class ships, the largest in the world, will be able to berth at the terminal.
RCL Development Holdings is an indirect wholly owned-subsidiary of one of the world’s leading cruise companies Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL).
The agreement was signed by Gavin Smith, senior vice president of International, RCL and Penang Port’s chairman, Dato’ Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza and witnessed by the Chief Minister of Penang Chow Kon Yeow and Minister of Transport Loke Siew Fook.
Construction is scheduled to start at the end of the month.
Penang Port CEO Sasedharan Vasudevan said: “The expansion will see a significant increase in international transit calls at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal along with an increase in appeal for the homeport segment in Penang.
“With the State Government’s full support in managing tourism activities, logistics and transport staging around the terminal, we are confident in strong future growth of the cruise industry in Penang.”
Mr Smith said: “Royal Caribbean’s engagement with Penang and Penang Port marks a significant step in our company’s efforts in encouraging port development in Asia.
“With the strong support of Penang State and the Malaysian Government, we are confident that the improved cruise terminal facilities will be a boost for the smooth berthing of the larger ships coming to Asia, including Quantum of the Seas next year and usher in a new era of cruise tourism for Penang.”
Swettenham Pier is the only cruise terminal with a 200m walking distance to the city of George Town, a UNESCO world heritage site with a wealth of history and culture and a renowned foodie-haven. The terminal can handle up to one million cruise passengers a year.