JIS News

In continuation of its marketing of the country’s cruise product, the Port Authority of Jamaica today (November 28), signed a five-year contract with Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCCL), valued at US$16.5 million.
“One of the highlights of the agreement is that RCCL will guarantee a minimum of 2,250,000 passengers over the five-year period. That figure, broken out accords 400,000 visitors for 2005 and further specifies that a minimum of 462,500 passengers will call at our port facilities on Royal Caribbean vessels during 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009,” Minister of Housing, Transport, Water, and Works, Robert Pickersgill said at the signing in Kingston.
“It should be noted that the agreement covers Royal Caribbean Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Island Cruises. It also covers any other vessel newly chartered or newly operated by Royal Caribbean or any other shipping company in which RCCL has at least 51 per cent interest during the term of the agreement,” the Minister added.
The new contract sets out the responsibilities of each party, and the terms and processes for any amendments or termination of the agreement.
Among the obligations of the Port Authority are: to make berthing available on receipt of due notice; to maintain berthing and land based facilities at the relevant ports and provide overall responsibility for the agreed security measures at all ports in compliance with the International maritime Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pickersgill announced that as a result of the increase in demand for Jamaica as a cruise destination, the Port Authority has signed an agreement with stakeholders to improve the berthing and land facilities in Montego Bay.
The planned improvements to the berthing and landside facilities are projected to cost US$67 million.
“Among the proposed development will be the construction and renovation of three berths, two of which will accommodate vessels over 1,000 feet in length, and the third berth, handling vessels of the 900-foot category. A second terminal building will be added along with extensive facilities to comfortably accommodate customs operations, retail shopping and entertainment,” Mr. Pickersgill informed.
“The consultants are proceeding with the design and it is expected that the work on the design, the tendering process for the award of contracts and the awards will be completed to allow for the commencement of construction in the third quarter of next year, with completion expected in 2008,” he noted.
Mr. Pickersgill also pointed out that the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal would be upgraded to handle the Royal Caribbean’s mega cruise ship, the ‘Freedom of the Seas’. He added that a new cruise ship terminal would be developed and completed by 2008 to accommodate the ‘Genesis of the Seas’.
At the end of September, cruise ship arrivals were up 16.14 per cent over the similar period last year, with 943,072 cruise passengers visiting Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Port Antonio on some 400 ship calls.

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