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Monday, March 20, 2017
RCL steps up port investment, this time in Penang
Swettenham Piar Cruise Terminal
Penang Port will collaborate with Royal
Caribbean Cruises (RCL) in a joint venture to upgrade and improve Swettenham
Pier Cruise Terminal in Georgetown, Penang, to accommodate berthing of larger
cruise ships at its facilities. The 60/40 joint venture will be jointly managed
by both parties, with the majority stake held by Penang Port.
This is the second time in weeks that RCL has
announced its involvement in an ASEAN port. At the recent Seatrade, it
reportedly sealed a partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism in
the Aklan province to build a
purpose-built cruise ship terminal in the Western Visayas' Caticlan
or Boracay. Details of the collaboration are still sketchy.
When contacted, Adam Goldstein, president and
COO of RCC: “We have conversations with ports and countries all the time around
the world about infrastructure development. It is premature for us to say
anything about our commercial development plans for the Philippines.”
In Penang, however, a statement issued by RCC
said plans include extending the existing berths to 688m from its current
length of 400m. This will enable the terminal to berth two mega cruise liners
carrying over 4,900 passengers each at any one time, in line with the industry
requirement as Penang comes of age as a “choice port of call” for international
In addition, the redevelopment will include
spaces for tour buses to ease the flow of traffic in the areas around the
Swettenham terminal. The US$35 million project will further focus on improving
accessibility for the aged and physically challenged throughout the terminal
from ship to shore.
“This planned development has received
unyielding support from both state and federal government and associated
government agencies including tourism bodies, and will be a focal part of
Malaysian Tourism EPP6 plan to create a Straits and Borneo Cruise Riviera,” it
The ability to handle more and larger cruise
vessels in Swettenham Pier will entrench Penang as a major cruise destination
in the region, it added.
RCL is scheduled to make 38 calls in Penang
This isn’t the first time RCL is investing in
ASEAN cruise ports. In 1995, it invested in upgrading Vietnam’s Chan May Port
in order to accommodate larger ships like its Voyager and Quantum Class ships,
according to a spokesman.
In a recent interview
with TTG Asia, Goldstein said the more the China and Australia markets
expand, the more there will be new ports, ships and itineraries in those
regions, and the greater the need is to develop cruising in South-east Asia to
redeploy the ships there in the winter months.
development is going to be one of the most significant undertakings in the
region over the coming years, he said. “We are planning to invest in the region
in commercial development without question. It’s part of what we do,” said