South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has officially inaugurated the new $16 million Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal at Durban’s main port, ahead of the start of country’s 2023-2024 cruise season.
The event was also attended by Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises and chairman of KwaZulu Cruise Terminal, His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, representatives from the Nelson Mandela Foundation, government ministers and port officials.
“Nelson Mandela was an incredible statesman and leader who continues to inspire progress around the world,” said Vago. “We are honoured that the Nelson Mandela Foundation allowed us to use his name for what is the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom. The new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban will give access to passengers from more than 100 nationalities, and they can enjoy the unique experience we offer onboard and visits to the beautiful destinations we have developed.”
The facility was developed by MSC Cruises in collaboration with the African Armada Consortium and Transnet National Ports Authority, making it the South African cruise industry’s first public-private partnership. It has the capacity to handle 4,000 passengers per day.
“It has been 10 years since the public-private partnership was initially conceived,” said Vago. “We were given the privilege together with our black economic empowerment partner African Armada Consortium to create new infrastructure that supports the expansion of the South African cruise tourism, and the new terminal will be welcomed by all cruise companies from around the world.”
The new terminal is the latest in a series of investments MSC Cruises’ parent MSC Group has made to help grow South Africa’s cruise and maritime industry. MSC Group trains young South Africans in hospitality skills used onboard MSC Cruises’ fleet of 22 ships at the Shosholoza Academy, which was established in 2019. The academy will provide 5,000 new crew members to MSC vessels in the coming months.
“We are fully committed to help drive the country’s tourism industry and create employment opportunities along the way which has and will continue to have a positive economic impact on the nation,” said Ross Volk, managing director of MSC Cruises South Africa. “This will be typified later this week with the start of the local cruise season and the arrival of MSC Splendida, MSC Cruises’ largest and most modern ship to serve the South African market.”