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GALVESTON, TX (Nov. 8, 2023) – The Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees voted on Nov. 7 to approve a $5.3 million engineering and architecture services contract for a fourth cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston, America’s fourth most popular cruise port.
Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, said, “This vote moves us one step closer to finalizing a budget and construction plans to open a new terminal at Pier 16 as early as 2025.”
The port will engage Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. (BA) for design development, construction documents and permitting bidding. The scope of work will include design for the terminal building, a parking garage, marine structure improvements, a passenger boarding bridge, and civil improvements such as surface parking, access roads and utilities.
At its Oct. 31 meeting, the board voted unanimously to move forward with a fourth cruise terminal, confirming their support for expanding the port’s cruise business. The terminal is included in the port’s 20-Year Strategic Master plan adopted by the board in 2019.
“The master plan projected the need for a fourth terminal in the 2030s, but due to cruise industry growth and acreage at Pier 16 coming available earlier than expected, we have the opportunity to move forward now,” Rees said.
In March the board engaged BA for preliminary engineering then amended the agreement in April for BA to develop a schematic-level design. In September the board approved a construction manager-at-risk (CMAR) contract with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for preconstruction services.
Rees said, “With terminal and parking garage preliminary construction estimates of almost $140 million, we’re looking to trim costs and get to a final budget. Then we can make plans for financing the project with a combination of port cash reserves and revenue bonds,” Rees said.
Separately, the port and MSC Cruises are negotiating an agreement related to the terminal. 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.
About 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.