Redevelopment of Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal to begin next year

Last update: 18/11/2019

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 18  -- Construction work on the redevelopment of the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) to accommodate larger ships, will begin next year.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) managing director for Asia Pacific, Angie Stephen, said the redevelopment plan had been approved while a construction partner and concessionaire had also been identified.

"At the moment, we are just tying up some last-minute loose ends and we expect construction work to begin in two to three months," she told reporters after the annual docking of RCL's 'Quantum of the Seas' cruise ship at SPCT here today.

She added that RCL expects construction to take about 12 months - this follows the signing of a joint-venture agreement in September last year between Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) and RCL to redevelop the SPCT for the purposes of accommodating larger ships.

The redevelopment will see the SPCT’s existing 400 metre (m) berth extended by 220m, and the addition of a 118m-long dolphin. 

It is anticipated that this will enable the terminal to handle two mega-sized cruise ships simultaneously on its outer berths, along with one small ship and one medium-sized ship on its inner berths.

One of the biggest barriers faced in growing the cruise tourism industry in South East Asia was the lack of ports for cruise ships to dock at, Stephen observed, explaining that RCL's ships were getting bigger and to improve the passenger experience, the group preferred to dock at destinations compared to dropping anchor away from shore.  

"So I think Penang is a step ahead of many other places in terms of having available infrastructure," she said, adding that cruise tourism had a lot of potential in the region owing to reports that less than one per cent of Asians were exposed to cruising.