Large-capacity cruise ship terminal in Port Malacca (Malaysia) unjustified, expert says

   March 15, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

The low number of cruise ships calling at Port Malacca (Bandaraya Melaka, aka Kota Melaka, Malaysia) doesn't justify the construction of a large-capacity passenger terminal with full-service facilities like customs and immigration, a consultant says.

According to cruise terminal consultant Linza Wells, up to 2019/pre-COVID times, Malacca was handling ~36 cruise calls per year, so that would be 3 vessels monthly. She said the figure would remain low as ship calls run on a seasonal basis, and some cruise lines are still recovering from the crisis.

Last week, Malaysia's transport minister Loke Siew Fook said that the ministry was in discussions with the government of Malacca to proceed with the international cruise terminal project.

The project includes reclamation works under the Melaka Gateway project, a development that was supposed to be on 4 artificial islands with commercial, cultural, entertainment, residential, and lifestyle elements.

Wells said the cruise ship terminal was unlikely to serve as a homeport for ships/cruises due to Melaka’s location and the lack of airport connectivity in the state.

“It is more suitable to develop Melaka as a basic cruise terminal, especially since they are currently using a tender process whereby small boats attached to the cruise vessel take passengers and bring them ashore.”

However, this meant that earnings would be lower because most passengers wouldn't be getting off at the stop to spend time/money.

If there was a need to construct a cruise ship terminal, Wells said that other locations along the Straits of Melaka were better suited and wouldn't require land reclamation work.

The cruise terminal is among 3 ports being built under the recently revived Melaka Gateway project budgeted RM 42 billion (USD 9,36 billion).

Port of Malacca (Malaysia)

The investment operating license for the cruise terminal was previously revoked due to a number of issues, though the project was almost complete.

The ministry had received an application from the Melaka Gateway developer to revive the project, but there would be various negative implications in case it was discontinued.