Port Galveston's Board approves $5.3M contract for new/4th cruise terminal

   November 10, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

On November 7, the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees sanctioned a US$5.3 million contract for engineering and architectural services, marking a significant step toward the establishment of a 4th cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston (Texas), currently the 4th most frequented cruise port in the United States.

Rodger Rees, the port director, and CEO of Galveston Wharves, said the vote moved them one step closer to finalizing a budget and construction plans to open a new terminal at Pier 16 as early as 2025.

Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. (BA) will be engaged to spearhead the design development, construction documents, and permitting bidding. The comprehensive scope of work encompasses the terminal building's design, a parking garage, marine structure enhancements, a passenger boarding bridge, and civil improvements such as surface parking, access roads, and utilities.

At the preceding meeting on October 31, the board unanimously resolved to proceed with the establishment of a fourth cruise terminal, reaffirming their commitment to expanding the port's cruise business. The terminal aligns with the port's 20-Year Strategic Master plan, adopted in 2019, which initially projected the need for a fourth terminal in the 2030s. However, accelerated availability of acreage at Pier 16, coupled with the growth in the cruise industry, has prompted the board to expedite the timeline.

The board had earlier engaged BA in March for preliminary engineering and subsequently amended the agreement in April for BA to develop a schematic-level design. In September, a construction manager-at-risk (CMAR) contract was approved with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for pre-construction services.

Rees commented on the substantial preliminary construction estimates, stating that with terminal and parking garage preliminary construction estimates of ~US$140 million, they were looking to trim costs and get to a final budget. Then they could make plans for financing the project with a combination of port cash reserves and revenue bonds.

In parallel, negotiations between the Port and MSC Cruises are underway regarding an agreement related to the terminal. MSC Cruises, the world's third-largest cruise brand, holds market leadership in various regions globally and is actively expanding its presence.