A fifth terminal is due to open in Southampton in 2021 to help handle the 2million passengers who pass through Britain’s busiest cruise port every year.
The £55million building will be topped with solar panels and equipped with shore power to allow ships to ‘plug in’ to the electricity grid and turn off their generators when docked.
Already under construction next to City Terminal in the Western Docks, opposite Dock Gate 10, the huge hall will be able to handle the world’s biggest ships, carrying 6,000 passengers or more.
However, Rebekah Keeler, head of cruise at Associated British Ports, also stressed it would be ‘able to meet the requirements of any cruise line, from the smallest to the largest, whether they do face-to-face or mobile check-in’.
Due to be finished by late spring, it will be the first new terminal since Ocean in 2009 and will be named after consulting the local community.
The terminal is being funded by ABP, in partnership with MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, helped by an £8million government grant through the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Alastair Welch, director of ABP Southampton, said: ‘We’re very pleased to announce this major advance in our cruise infrastructure at the port, delivering further access to Southampton for the industry, whilst supporting our commitment to accelerate improvements in local air quality.
‘This investment is a huge vote of confidence in the future of cruise in Southampton and we’re excited to be at the forefront of a growing industry.’
Christopher Hammond, the leader of Southampton City Council, said: ‘Not only will this cement our status as the home of the cruise industry, but respects our maritime heritage and underlines our commitment to a sustainable future. We are committed to ensuring we can emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with the strongest foundations for future growth.’
Robert Courts, the minister for Maritime, Department for Transport, commented: ‘This next-generation facility showcases to ports around the world how we’re pioneering the use of green technology in the UK.’
NCL said it showed ‘our commitment to the region’ while Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said: ‘We really believe in the potential of the UK cruise market. Not only will we be committing to having an MSC Cruises ship homeport from Southampton every year, but several of our ships will be visiting the port as part of our wider cruise programme.’
MSC Magnifica will be based at the new terminal next summer. P&O Cruises ship Iona, which will make its public debut in 2021, will be based at Ocean Cruise Terminal.