Expansion of Penang cruise terminal to begin in April

The first phase of the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal expansion will enable it to handle three million passengers a year and accommodate two mega-sized cruise ships at the same time. (Facebook pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Upgrading work at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal here to accommodate larger vessels will commence in April, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said according to a report issued by the Cruise Liners International Association last year, Penang was Malaysia’s top cruise destination, beating Port Klang, Langkawi and Melaka.

Lim said he was made to understand that one of the ways to attract more tourists to Penang was redevelopment of the terminal. The first phase involves extension of the existing 400m berth and improvement of all infrastructure.

“The cost will be borne by the private sector comprising Penang Port Sdn Bhd and Royal Caribbean (the cruise line), with the first phase to cost RM150 million and construction works taking 24 to 36 months to complete,” he said after making an official visit to the terminal here today.

He said the completion of the first phase will enable the cruise terminal to handle three million passengers a year and simultaneously accommodate two mega-sized cruise ships.

Lim, who is also Air Putih state assemblyman, said three more phases, involving a cost of RM350 million, will follow, in the effort to expand Penang’s cruise tourism capacity.

Two duty-free shops at the terminal will begin operations in a few months’ time, he added.