'Terminals are paramount. That's where the experience starts,' Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said during a briefing aboard the newly inaugurated MSC Seashore.
On the cargo side, the MSC Group is the world's fifth largest terminal operator, according to Vago, which gives it the ability to keep its containers moving — something that's become a critical advantage during the global supply chain crisis.
Cruise terminals in Italy, Southampton, Barcelona
On the cruise side, MSC is increasingly involved in terminal operations, sometimes partnering with other lines. It's got 15 terminals in Italy. It's not MSC-operated, but the Port of Southampton's new Horizon Cruise Terminal, shared with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, officially opened in September. And this year MSC won a concession to build and operate a new terminal at the Port of Barcelona that's set to open in 2024.
Durban inauguration Dec. 5
Dec. 5 will see the inauguration of the new Durban Cruise Terminal, built and to be managed by an MSC-led consortium.
PortMiami terminal groundbreaking Dec. 13
And, 'the most important, the most exciting one,' Vago said, is MSC's new double-size PortMiami terminal, which he called 'an incredible landmark building.' Groundbreaking for the $450m facility is set for Dec. 13.
It will have three berths and be able to accommodate three ships at once, or 36,000 passenger movements a day. It will be Miami's largest cruise terminal and, Vago believes, the world's largest cruise terminal. It will be shore power ready and able to handle MSC's 205,700gt, LNG-powered World-class ships.
(Discussions continue between PortMiami and Royal Caribbean Group about sharing the terminal and a new Berth 10, to be built by the port.)
Heavy North American investment
'We're investing a lot in North America,' added Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises. Besides the terminal and sending some of its latest ships, MSC is growing its organization and spending much more on marketing.
'We can contribute to the US economy [by bringing] passengers from Europe and South America,' he said.
Adding homeports — as the line has just done by branching out to Port Canaveral — and offering shorter cruises in the mix so more people can try the brand, are key, according to MSC Cruises USA President Rubén Rodríguez.
More, more, more
'We'll certainly be announcing more modern ships coming to US shores, more homeports, more destinations and more itineraries,' Rodríguez said.