The Costa Atlantic set off on its first cruise from Shanghai to South Korea
today. And just two weeks ago, Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas also docked
at Wusongkou, which is one of the few ports big enough to accommodate the
"The challenge that we have really is all the different destinations that we
can go to, so we have to find some more developed ports to be able to accomodate
big ships," said Lisa Bauer.
But the North Bund port in the city's central Hongkou district can only
handle smaller ships that can fit under the Yangpu Bridge. But port operators
say the location was a good choice back in 2006, when the port first opened.
"We can call this location the most beautiful scene on the Huangpu River,
where we can enjoy the view of the Lujiazui area as well as along the Bund. This
plan was mature back than, because there weren't many larger cruise ships
coming. Also, the cruises docking here want some place near the sights, so that
foreigners can walk to the Bund directly after getting off the ships," said Xu
Xu says the government spent 1 billion yuan to build the port. Since 2006,
when fewer than 100,000 cruise passengers docked in Shanghai, the number has
been increasing by about 10% a year. After the Wusongkou port opened last year,
cruise companies began bringing larger ships to Shanghai. So the Hongkou
district port has become less competitive than the one in Baoshan, which is
expecting 128 dockings this year. But the Wusongkou terminal's waiting hall
doesn't have room for all the passengers when two large ships dock at the same
time. So operators are planning a second phase.
"We need to improve the support facilities. We will build a larger waiting
hall to accomodate 3000 passengers and other nearby catering and business
facilities," said Chen Xiqi.
Chen says they are also planning to expand the port so it can accommodate
four large cruise ships at the same time. The renovation is to start next year
and be completed by 2015. The Hongkou port operators say they have already
started to develop the yacht industry there this year. The Shanghai government
says it will develop both terminals at the same time, because each targets
different customers. Company officials predict the cruise industry will
contribute 1.4 billion US dollars to China's economy this year.