Cape Town 08-11-11 -The MSC Sinfonia arrives in Cape Town harbour Picture Brenton Geach

Cape Town -

Transnet Ports Authority says it is not aware of a City of Cape Town study highlighting the risks of building a dedicated cruise liner terminal at the city’s harbour, and it is going ahead with its development plans for a dedicated terminal.

“Currently the tender process has not reached conclusion and the outcome of the tender process will be communicated to the relevant parties in due course,” said Transnet.

It is almost a year since Transnet called for bids for the redevelopment of the terminal, earmarked for Berth E adjacent to the V&A Waterfront. This would include a 20-year contract for the development, construction and operation of the terminal.

But last week, the city’s tourism, events and marketing portfolio committee meeting heard that a 2014 forecast had cautioned that a dedicated terminal would stand idle for part of the year.

Given the city’s “limited home port cruise potential”, it would not make financial sense to invest in new infrastructure for a terminal.

Tourism’s Theuns Vivian said the terminal should be a multipurpose venue that would not be affected by seasonality.

Mayor Patricia de Lille said soon after that the views expressed by Vivian did not “in any way” represent those of the city. Furthermore, the statements were “wholly ignorant” of this sector’s economic importance.

“The city therefore unequivocally supports the need for a dedicated cruise liner terminal, as we believe it is essential to growing the tourism market and, as a result, job creation in Cape Town,” said De Lille.

Meanwhile Economic Opportunity MEC Alan Winde said that Vivian’s caution about seasonality is nothing new. “That’s why we are working on the Cape Town International Convention Centre.”

Winde said it was likely that all the bidders were factoring the off-peak period into their due diligence, and that most of the proposals would be for a facility that could be used for other purposes throughout the year.

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Cape Argus