With the opening of an international cruise liner terminal today, the east China metropolis moved a major step closer to its goal of becoming a global shipping centre.
The 130,000-square-metre Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, which is still partly under construction, is located on the banks of the Huangpu River in the city's Hongkou district.
The terminal includes a 880-meter-long wharf, which can berth three international passenger liners of 70,000 to 80,000 tons at the same time. The wharf was designed with an annual throughput capacity of 1 million people.
The development is much more than just a wharf. It will become a new area centred on the cruise business, with zones offering entertainment, shopping and dining facilities.
The project also includes a new passenger building, a headquarters building for the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) and other supporting facilities as well as a green open space of 90,000 square metres.
A 1,000-passenger cruise liner operated by Italian company Costa become the first vessel to dock at the new terminal, which will become its home port. The ship, called Costa Allegra, sets off today on a fully-booked five day round trip via South Korea and Japan.
A grand ceremony was held yesterday evening to celebrate the ship's first journey up the Huangpu River.
Construction of the terminal started in January 2004. The whole project is scheduled to be completed in 2007 and be fully operational in 2008.
"We have drawn a great blueprint for the development of Shanghai's cruise tourism industry. The terminal will transform the northern bank of the Huangpu River into another commercial area similar to Lujiazui in Pudong," said Lu Haiku, president of SIPG, the main developer of the project.
(China Daily July 3, 2006)