Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) has signed a joint venture agreement today with RCL Development Holdings (Penang) Sdn Bhd, an indirect wholly owned-subsidiary of one of the world’s leading cruise companies Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), to redevelop its cruise terminal to accommodate larger ships. Dato’ Syed Mohamad Syed Murtaza, Chairman of PPSB and Gavin Smith, Senior Vice President of International, RCL inked the agreement, witnessed by YAB Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang and YB Loke Siew Fook, Minister of Transport in a ceremony held today at Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang, Malaysia. The two parties had previously signed a Heads of Agreement in March 2017.
In the redevelopment plans for Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT), the existing 400m berth will be extended by 220m with an additional 118m-long dolphin. It is designed with a view for future expansion in line with anticipated demand. With the current expansion plan, SPCT will be able to handle two mega sized cruise ships simultaneously on the outer berths along with one small and one medium sized ships on the inner berths by end 2019. The expansion will enable Oasis-class ships, the largest in the world, to berth at the terminal.
Sasedharan Vasudevan, PPSB’s CEO said “Detailed design and site investigations are already midway, with construction to begin before the end of 2018. 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.”
Royal Caribbean’s Gavin Smith in thanking the Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and Transport Minister Anthony Loke said, “Royal Caribbean’s engagement with Penang and PPSB 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 unique in Southeast Asia as being the only cruise terminal with a 200m walking distance to a city. This is further enhanced by the fact that the city in question, George Town, is a UNESCO world heritage site with a wealth of history and culture, and a renowned foodie-haven.
Penang is sunny all year round and thus Swettenham Pier is not subject to seasonal conditions, with ships able to call throughout the year. The value of the terminal’s location together with the port and State’s mutual goal to enhance the warehouse areas in the vicinity as a touristic waterfront city will further boost Penang’s tourism offering and push it to be a world-class cruise destination.