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Busan Port targets greater cruise business

BPA president Lim Ki-tack says port looking to handle largest cruise ships afloat
Busan Port Authority is looking to step up its cruise business significantly, adding a second passenger terminal and expanding its existing one in order to be able to receive the very largest ships in operation today, BPA president Lim Ki-tack announced during a visit to the UK this week, coinciding with the opening of the port’s first European office in London.

Cruise traffic at the Korean port is already expanding fast, with a total of around 240,000 passenger expected this year from around 140 ship calls, compared to 180,000 passengers from 99 calls in 2012.

BPA also plans to host a major cruise exhibition, conference and training event organized by Seatrade next year, President Lim having signing an MoU to this effect with Seatrade chairman Chris Hayman during his visit.

A second passenger terminal costing around $45m is currently under construction, for completion by mid-2015, after which the existing first terminal is to be expanded, president Lim said. Should more than two large cruiseships call simultaneously, unused container quays can be pressed into service, he added.

The BPA also recently built a covered moving walkway costing $45m to connect the cruise quay and existing terminal some 600mtr away.

Next year will see the maiden call by Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas, which at 170,000gt will be the largest cruiseship to call the port, her early Asian deployment providing “the best indicator of how cruise majors regard the potential of the Asian market,” commented the Seatrade chairman.

Port of Busan Authority is investing heavily in order to promote the cruise business and benefit the local economy, President Lim stressed, rather than to generate a profit for the BPA. 'The cruise business is a very attractive area of business where every stakeholder can benefit,' he said.