South Korea’s Busan port, already the biggest transhipment port in Northeast Asia, wants to improve its cruise facilities.
In response to growing cruise passenger numbers in the region, Busan has decided to extend the 360 m long quay at its Yeongdo Cruise Pier to 435 m. Waters there are 12 m deep.
The terminal, which will open in September, can take cruise ships of up to 130,000 tonnes and the extension will enable it to take cruise ships of up to 200,000 tonnes. The extension will be ready by 2018.
In September, the port will officially open a new cruise terminal to complement the current facility – Yeongdo Cruise Pier, opened in 2007 – to accommodate larger vessels.
The new terminal is located at the redeveloped Busan Old Port. The terminal is banking on its location in central Busan, with proximity to the KTX Busan station. The new terminal facility will have a six-storey building with total area of 93,932 m².
Prior to the extension being ready in 2018, Gammam Pier – an existing container berth – will be made available for the larger cruise ships.
The cruise developments at Busan port are fully supported by the Korean government, which has recently reaffirmed its commitment to developing the nation as a cruise hub and marine tourism destination.
Plans include constructing additional cruise terminals nationwide to enhance facilities from the current three terminals to nine by 2020. In addition, the government will support initiatives to promote the Korean cruise industry, attract more passengers and port calls, and offer support to the domestic cruise industry, including state-owned cruise carriers.
Busan Port Authority president Lim Ki-tack, said, “Cruise markets have traditionally focused on the Mediterranean, Europe, and the Caribbean but we are now seeing passengers developing a taste for Northeast Asia. We can offer luxurious yet inexpensive cruise itineraries.
“Cruise is a complex industry involving ports, tourism, customs, immigration, quarantine, ship supplies, ship agencies, and more. We have listened to each sector so that we can enhance and develop Busan into a leading cruise destination. Last year we created the Busan Cruise Community comprising all those with an interest in this sector and we will use this forum to gather opinions and ideas to further develop the Busan cruise industry.”
Busan has seen cruise passenger arrivals increase 28-fold since 2004. Busan is expecting to welcome 280,000 passengers and 135 cruise ships in 2015.