Visakhapatnam set to become major hub for cruise tourism, says Sonowal

The terminal is designed to accommodate vessels with a passenger capacity of up to 2,000.

Published: 05th September 2023 09:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2023 09:34 AM   |  A+A-

Sarbananda Sonowal

Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal

By Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: The much-awaited state-of-the-art Visakhapatnam International Cruise Terminal (VICT) was inaugurated by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal in Visakhapatnam on Monday.

Apart from the VICT, developed with an investment of Rs 96.05 cr, including a grant of Rs 38.50 cr from the Centre, the minister unveiled projects worth Rs 216.53 crore for expanding the capacity of Vizag Port. These include—the covered storage shed 2, the truck parking terminal, and the augmentation of capacity for OR 1 and OR II.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Sonowal said, “The VICT will contribute significantly to the development of both Visakhapatnam and the State by increasing the international tourist arrivals. With robust communication gateways, the revamped marine waterways are likely to  help the port city become a major hub  for cruise tourism and maritime trade.’’The minister stressed that the Centre is committed to developing world-class infrastructure to support and enable the growth of cruise tourism and maritime trade.

“We expect that the volume of cruise ships will increase from 208 in 2023 to 500 in 2030 and up to 1,100 by 2047. The number of passengers availing cruise services is also likely to increase from 9.5 lakhs in 2030 to 45 lakhs in 2047,” Sonowal stated.

The terminal is designed to accommodate vessels with a passenger capacity of up to 2,000. Additionally, it boasts parking facilities that can accommodate seven buses, 70 cars, and 400 two-wheelers. The Maritime India Vision 2030 roadmap is estimated to create 2 lakh new jobs in the cruise tourism sector, the minister stated. Speaking on the other infrastructure facilities coming up at the Port, Sonowal said the construction of four covered storage sheds has begun at a cost of Rs 116.04 crore, which can store bulk cargo with a capacity of 2,94,000 MT.

The truck parking terminal--spread over an area of 20 acres of port land--was developed with an investment of Rs 36.05 crores. It will increase parking space for port-bound vehicles, providing seamless movement of trucks. The terminal can accommodate 666 vehicles. It also has a 100-bed dormitory, shops, ATM, fuel station, weigh bridge of 100 tonnes capacity, workshop and servicing stations, and other facilities for the staff operating the trucks.

On the occasion, the minister commended the rapid growth of the Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) and highlighted ongoing development initiatives under the Sagara Mala program. Highlighting the Sagaramala projects undertaken by the Centre, he said that the State alone hosts 113 projects worth approximately Rs 1.23 lakh crore, with 36 already completed.

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