Cruise Ship Pier Project at Dockyard in Bermuda nears completion

HAMILTON, Bermuda – The Bermuda Ministry of Tourism and Transport is seeking retroactive planning approval for the final phase of the second cruise ship pier facility in Dockyard.

The first cruise is scheduled to dock at the new berth on April 29th, 2009.

The final phase of the project primarily involves the construction of a new terminal building.

Transport officials originally planned to seek a Special Development Order for the final phase of the project, but were advised instead to seek retroactive planning approval when a land reclamation agreement became mired in administrative delays. Had officials not moved forward with a modified strategy they ran the risk of not having the legal certificates and approvals required to open the terminal facility in time for the cruise season which begins in late April. Such a development would be potentially detrimental to local tourism-related business owners.

Today transport officials are optimistic about a successful retroactive planning request and an on time terminal building opening because extensive and costly environmental impact studies are already completed and have been submitted with the application.

Meantime, the first phase of the project, which involved the construction of the second cruise ship pier to accommodate the industry’s growing fleet of mega ships, is complete. Planning approval was granted for that portion of the project on October 17, 2007.

The cruise industry is an important component of the Bermuda Tourism product specifically and the Bermuda economy generally. The combined revenue generated by the industry for local business owners, tour operators and Government coffers is estimated to be $62 million for 2008, $69.2 million in 2009 and $78.9 million in 2010. The estimates are based on exit survey data with the current economic climate taken into consideration. Visitor spending, crew spending and tax revenues were factored into the equation.

If the second cruise pier and terminal building is unable to open for the 2009 season lost revenue is estimated at $16 million to the local economy. The losses would be especially significant to Government coffers because cruises that call on Hamilton and St. George’s do not currently pay cabin tax. The Government waived cabin tax at those ports in an effort to attract the shrinking availability of smaller cruise ships.

Many of the industry’s smaller ships that once docked in St. George’s and Hamilton have been retired or sold to developing markets in Asia and South America. The more typical, larger ships can not fit through Town Cut in St. George’s and Two Rock Passage in Hamilton, hence the urgent national importance of a second pier at Dockyard where larger ships can transit and no changes to the environment are required.

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