Port Galveston, MSC and NCL-Norwegian continue negotiations for fourth cruise terminal

   August 24, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Galveston Wharves are presently engaged in negotiations with MSC Cruises and NCL-orwegian Cruise Line to establish a new cruise terminal at one of the USA's most frequented cruise homeports. This potential partnership aims to expand the port's facilities and services.

Rodger Rees (Port Director and CEO of Galveston Wharves) has conveyed his anticipation regarding this collaborative effort. He foresees substantial benefits arising from this venture, including an enhanced cruise experience for passengers and a bolstered regional economy. Rees envisions the inclusion of MSC in their network of cruise lines, which would offer travelers an elegant European-style cruise adventure and elevate Galveston's position as a prominent U.S. cruise home port. This move could potentially introduce MSC to an untapped market of millions of cruise passengers in the Central USA.

Harry Maxwell (Chairman of the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees) has also affirmed their dedication to fostering a mutually advantageous partnership that would encourage these internationally acclaimed cruise lines to establish a homeport in Galveston.

Jeff Patterson, who leads the Finance Committee of the board, has expressed strong support for the construction of the fourth cruise terminal. He eagerly anticipates the finalization of the project's details, facilitating collaborative progress.

In preparation for the proposed terminal, the Wharves Board has already allocated a sum of $673,000 for design and pre-engineering cost estimates, highlighting their commitment to realizing this expansion.

MSC Cruises USA's President, Ruben A. Rodriguez, has reiterated their commitment to the prospective home port in Galveston, which aligns with their ongoing expansion strategy in North America. They view Galveston as a pivotal part of their plans to introduce modern and glamorous ships to the Texan region. This move would not only provide passengers with diverse cruising options but also enable them to experience MSC's distinctive European flair.

Galveston's increasing appeal as a cruise home port is underscored by the escalating passenger counts and sailings. Projections for 2023 suggest a record-breaking 362 sailings, marking the highest in the port's 22-year history as a cruise hub. This surge in activity augments the port's significance, translating into substantial revenue and employment opportunities for the region.

Looking at the economic implications, the port's cruise activities in 2022 contributed significantly, generating around 3,500 jobs, approximately $568 million in local business revenue, and around $73.5 million through passenger and crew expenditures within the local economy. The anticipated fourth cruise terminal is predicted to stimulate further economic growth, yielding an additional 925 jobs, ~$177 million in revenue, and an estimated $21 million in local purchases.

Rees has emphasized that the proposal for a fourth cruise terminal aligns seamlessly with the port's comprehensive 20-Year Strategic Master Plan. This strategic blueprint is crafted to optimize the utilization of assets, guide key capital and maintenance projects, enhance multiple sectors such as cruise, cargo, commercial, and lay businesses, while simultaneously fostering economic growth through employment opportunities and revenue generation.

These ongoing negotiations follow the inauguration of the port's third cutting-edge cruise terminal in November. This $125 million state-of-the-art terminal, situated at Pier 10, was realized through a public-private partnership, underscoring the port's commitment to continuous innovation and expansion.