MSC Cruises opens cruise terminal in Durban

Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal officially inaugurated

Image credit: Michael Stewart, Blue Flag Productions

The US$16 million Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in South Africa’s main port of Durban has been officially inaugurated by the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the start of South Africa’s 2023/2024 cruise season.

The building was devised and funded by MSC Cruises and its black economic empowerment partner, African Armada Consortium, and together with Transnet National Ports Authority created the first public-private partnership in South Africa’s cruise industry. The venture called KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Limited operates the new facility.

The 6,000 sqm energy-efficient cruise terminal has the capacity to handle 4,000 passengers a day.

President Cyril Ramaphosa praised the newly launched terminal as a significant step towards restoring Durban’s position as a premier cruise tourism destination.

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Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and Chairman of KwaZulu Cruise Terminal attended the event together with President Cyril Ramaphosa, His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, government ministers, port officials and leaders from South Africa’s main travel agencies.

“Nelson Mandela was an incredible statesman and leader who continues to inspire progress around the world and we are honoured that the Nelson Mandela Foundation allowed us to use his name for what is the gateway to the Zulu Kingdom,” Vago said.

“MSC Cruises arrived in South Africa in the early 1990s and since then, thousands of cruise guests have discovered the beauty of the KwaZulu-Natal Province and beyond.

“The new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban will give access to passengers from more than 100 nationalities and they will enjoy the unique experience we offer on board and visits to the beautiful destinations we have developed at Portugeuse Island and Pomene in Mozambique.”

“It has been 10 years since the public-private partnership was initially conceived, the first of its kind for the east coast of South Africa. We were given the privilege together with our black empowerment partner 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.”

MSC Cruises’ parent MSC Group is the world’s largest container shipping company that has operated in South Africa for more than 50 years and the organisation has grown to become the biggest shipping agency and largest shipping investor in South Africa.

MSC Group set up the Shosholoza Academy in 2019 in South Africa to educate young people and train them in hospitality skills used on board MSC Cruises’ fleet of 22 ships. The academy will see 5,000 new crew members join MSC Cruises’ vessels in the weeks and months ahead.

An international customer call centre in Johannesburg serves MSC Cruises and its luxury cruise sister company Explora Journeys for passengers in South Africa, the USA and the UK with future growth plans to service other global markets.

MSC Splendida will commence its local cruise season from Durban this week.

Lead image: Piefrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises and South African Prime Minister Cyril Ramaphosa cut the ribbon to officially inaugurate the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal.

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