Galveston, TX (Dec. 21, 2022) – The Galveston Wharves, a major U.S. cruise homeport, and MSC Cruises, a leading international cruise company, are negotiating the development of a fourth cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston. The entities signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Dec. 7 outlining parameters of a potential agreement for the development and operation of a terminal at piers 16-18.
Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, said, “We’re excited about the huge potential of this mutually beneficial public-private partnership. Adding MSC to our family of cruise lines would offer our cruise guests an elegant, European-style cruise experience. It would elevate our status as a top U.S. cruise homeport, boost the regional economy and allow MSC to reach a new market of millions of cruise passengers in the Central U.S.”
Rubén A. Rodríguez, President, MSC Cruises USA, said, “The prospect of developing a new homeport in Galveston is exciting because it represents a big step in our ongoing North American expansion. Bringing our modern, glamorous ships to Texas would provide even more access and opportunities for guests and travel advisors to experience the future of cruising with MSC Cruises and our unique European style. We look forward to productive discussions with the Galveston Wharves as we chart MSC’s future in the U.S. market.”
MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest and fastest-growing cruise brand. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the privately held company employs a staff of more than 30,000 globally. It is the market leader in Europe, South America, the Persian Gulf region and Southern Africa, with a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America and Far East markets.
The Port of Galveston is the fourth most popular cruise homeport in the U.S., hosting more than 1 million cruise passengers a year.
Rees said, “Our popularity as a cruise homeport is reflected in the growth of our passenger counts and sailings. In 2023 we forecast a record 362 sailings, the highest in the port’s 22 years as a cruise port. This is great news for the port and our region because our cruise business is a major revenue and jobs generator.”
Regional Economic Benefits
The local impact of the port’s 2022 cruise activity includes 3,500 jobs, $568 million in local business revenue, and $73.5 million in local purchases by passengers and crew. A fourth cruise terminal is forecast to generate an additional 925 jobs, $177 million in revenues, and $21 million in local purchases.
Rees added that a fourth cruise terminal is included in the port’s 20-Year Strategic Master Plan, designed to guide major capital and maintenance projects to maximize assets; optimize the port’s cruise, cargo, commercial and lay business sectors; and boost the regional economy with jobs and revenues.
The negotiations follow the opening of the port’s third new cruise terminal in November. The $125 million, state-of-the-art terminal at Pier 10 was developed through a public-private partnership.
About the Galveston Wharves at the Port of Galveston
Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, the Port of Galveston has been a thriving maritime commercial center since 1825. Just 45 minutes from open seas, the 840-acre port has infrastructure and assets to serve growing cruise, cargo and commercial businesses.
The port is the fourth most popular cruise homeport in the U.S. The port also leases and maintains a wide range of cargo facilities on the deep-water Galveston Ship Channel, which is ranked among the top 50 busiest U.S. cargo waterways. The Galveston Wharves is a self-sustaining city entity whose mission is to generate and reinvest port revenues to benefit the Galveston community with economic growth, jobs and sales tax revenues.
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as the market leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region and Southern Africa. It is also the fastest growing global cruise brand with a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises is one of the two brands that sit within the Cruise Division of MSC Group, the world’s leading and privately held shipping and logistics conglomerate with over 300 years of maritime heritage. MSC Cruises – the contemporary brand - has a modern fleet of 21 vessels combined with a sizeable future global investment portfolio of new vessels, terminals and other assets. The fleet is projected to grow to 23 cruise ships by 2025, with options for six more vessel orders in place through 2030.
MSC Cruises offers its guests an enriching, immersive and safe cruise experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage, where they can enjoy international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programs, and the very latest user-friendly technology on board. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ itineraries and experience on board its ships, click here.
The line’s number one priority has always been the health and safety of its guests and crew, as well as the communities at the destinations its ships serve. In August 2020, MSC Cruises implemented a new comprehensive and robust health and safety protocol to become the first major line to return to sea. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol, click here.
MSC Cruises has long been committed to environmental stewardship, with a long-term goal to achieve net zero emissions for its operations by 2050. The Company is also a significant investor in next-generation environmental marine technologies, with the objective to support their accelerated development and availability industry-wide. To learn more about the Company’s environmental commitment, click here.
Finally, to learn more about the MSC Foundation, MSC Group’s own vehicle to lead, focus and advance its conservation, humanitarian and cultural commitments, click here.