The $16 million Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in South Africa’s principal port of Durban has been officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the start of the country’s cruise season of 2023-24.
MSC Cruises and its black economic empowerment partner, African Armada Consortium, created and funded the facility, which, combined with Transnet National Ports Authority, formed the first partnership between the public and private sectors in South Africa’s cruise sector. The new facility is managed by a company named KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Limited.
The 6,000 square metre energy-efficient cruise terminal can hold 4,000 passengers per day. The project created 10,000 construction jobs, most of which were sourced locally in Durban and the rest of South Africa.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and Chairman of KwaZulu Cruise Terminal, as well as President Cyril Ramaphosa, His Majesty King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, government ministers, port officials, and leaders from South Africa’s major travel agencies, attended the event.
He said, “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.” MSC Cruises first arrived in South Africa in the early 1990s, and millions of cruise passengers have since experienced the beauty of KwaZulu-Natal Province and beyond. Passengers from more than 100 countries will be able to board the new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban, where they can enjoy the unique experience we offer on board and excursions to the beautiful places we developed on Portuguese Island and Pomene in Mozambique. It’s been ten years since the public-private partnership, the first on South Africa’s east coast, was conceived. In collaboration with our black empowerment partner, we were given the opportunity to build new infrastructure to assist the growth of South African cruise tourism, and the new terminal will be welcomed by all cruise lines from around the world.”
MSC Cruises’ parent business, MSC Group, is the world’s largest container shipping corporation, which has been operating in South Africa for more than 50 years. It has evolved to become the country’s largest shipping agency and largest shipping investor. More than one million MSC containers each year sail through South African ports via 750 ship calls.
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 services MSC Cruises and its luxury cruise sister company Explora Journeys for customers in South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, with ambitions to expand into more worldwide markets.
“We are fully committed to helping 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, MSC Cruises South Africa. This will be shown by the beginning of the local cruise season and the arrival of MSC Splendida, MSC Cruises’ largest and most modern ship serving the South African market.”