Cruise port estimate $100M

| 07/11/2013

(CNS): The team from PricewaterhouseCoopers that completed the strategic business case documents underpinning the government’s plans for the development of a cruise berthing facility have estimated that the minimum cost to develop two basic piers in George Town will be around $100 million and the length of the lease to whoever develops the port will be around 20 years for them to recoup their investment. At a public meeting Tuesday night about the progress towards the development of the facilities, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell set out the plans for the project and made it clear the PPM government wanted to work with a consortium of cruise lines to avoid a monopoly and that it had campaigned on putting the dock in the capital.

Despite the ongoing representations that George Town is not the best location for cruise ship piers, Kirkconnell said that the Progressive administration had run for office on a platform of developing the port in the capital and nowhere else. He said that government would not be granting any coastal licenses to private sector entities that had toyed with the idea of developing a port much further north in the Pageant Beach area.

Listening to the concerns and answering questions from an audience that was smaller than expected, at around 120 people, Kirkconnell fielded several questions about the ultimate benefit to local tourism and the very real environmental concerns. Department of Environment director Gina Petrie-Ebanks, who was also present at the meeting, said that the terms of reference for an environmental impact assessment would go out for public consultation. The minister said the EIA would form an important element of the whole process and government officials were committed to rethink the development if it put Seven Mile Beach at risk.

The issue of passenger numbers was also raised and the consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) admitted that they were unable to get the exact information from the cruise lines about the percentages of people disembarking from the ships when they call in Grand Cayman. PwC used other survey data information that shows some 90% of cruise passengers get off the ship here, despite the need to tender.

Kirkconnell also revealed that he has not yet received any firm comments for ships to remain in port very much longer once the piers were developed. He explained that because of the time saved by passengers not being tendered from the ship to shore and an extra hour or so that the lines were prepared to commit to, they would aim to sell two tours to each passenger.

This, he said, would still result in George Town merchants, other service providers and operators having a greater bite of the cruise business cherry, though many operators still had concerns about the way cruise lines do business and marginalize local operators.

The process on which the government is now embarked towards the development of the pierswill not be completed overnight. It is now moving towards an EIA and the development of the documents that will make up the first public invitation of interest to potential developers for pre-qualification to bid.

Meanwhile, October saw an increase of more than 9% in passenger arrival figures over last year after several months of declines. The minister said the numbers would continue to improve before the end of this year and during 2014, when work was expected to finally begin on the piers.

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  1. Foreign Devil says:

    Okay, listen closely, use that 100 million to drop the fares from Miami to $100 for day trippers, flights leave at  between 6 and 8 Maimi time and return at between 6 and 9 Cayman time, we will have two thousand high spending tourists on Island every day, forget about those piers , the cruise liners have perfected extraction all the money from there passengers for themselves.

    look what they did to Mervyn Cumber's operation."fosters dive"


    • Anonymous says:

      So we should increase the Cayman Airways subsidy to $120m in the hope that the increase in air arrivals will make up for it? lol.

  2. Anonymous says:

    People say the all this development will chance the island forever. People complain about it but the only reason the CIG is constantly looking for outside investors to come and build things and rely so much on Work Permit fees is  becuase there's nothing coming from within. People don't want cayman to change then the only answer isdirect taxaxtion for all Expat and Caymanians. This is the only way the goverment will bring in enought money to sustain the standard of living Cayman has gotten spoiled and used to.

    If you want thing tio stay the same you have to be willing to pay for it. How many of you would be rather see direct taxation then the Cruise Ships in GT

    Sp put up of shut up Cayman

  3. Red Flag says:

    Guys, here we go again……Drop the idea of a huge 4 ship pier and embrace the idea of separating the cargo/container area from the cruiseship landing area.  Just build a nice, shaded and protected landing facility north of the existing port dock where the tenders can tie up and discharge their passengers to a shaded, protected, clean area.  I know that when I go to work around the dock and I see passengers lined up wading through greasy water and being drenched by pouring rain or being baked in a blistering sun and being sand blasted by the dirt on the dock in a blowing wind, I think, "Who would come back to this?????"  This needs to be changed as badly as the dump needs to be cleaned up.  There is no need to spend 100's of millions of dollars for a pier that will destroy the natural beauty of the Georgetown waterfront and possibly ruin seven mile beach (God forbid).  A simple tender facility would make so much more sense than the proposed cruise ship pier.  The cargo operations would not have to be limited to night time operations and the cruiseship tourist would not be subjected to the mess that is often found on the cargo docks.  The harbour would not have to be subjected to the massive dredgeing that would be needed to gain the required depth for the ships and that would save coral the does exist.  There might be a few businessmen that would gain from a cruiseship pier but the vast majority of people on Cayman would only see the mess that was made of their island for the financial benefit of a few……not to mention the considerations that would be demanded by whomever finances the construction.  All the hyperbole about what cruiseship people want is just that.  They don't care if there is a dock there or a tender boat, as long as they do not have to stand in greasy water or be sandblasted in a baking wind.  Think about it and try to envision the difference in the view you will have between the two ideas.

  4. pmilburn says:

    I hope we dont have to rely on Cruise ship funding all this on their own as we will NEVER keep control of the money coming in.Carnival is the biggest cruise owner followed by NCL?Hope I got that right.If one gains control the wars will begin and we as a country will be the ones to suffer.Far better to somehow pay for the docks(do we really need two?)on our own so that WE control what goes on.As for the proposed cargo pier down by BKing/Mr Arthurs shop what happens when all those reefs are bulldozed not just from the ecological disaster that this WILL cause but where does one snorkle all these cruise passengers?Add the cruise piers and VOILA no reefs left or maybe just enough for the snorkle boats to get in line for.I will say it again and again 4 ships are all this country can handle safely and responsibly in order for these vistors to have a good experience.It will be interesting to see what an EIA will say re the danger to our fragile environment and what will stop that study from saying what so many people want it to say which in this case could be the big merchants in GTown?No matter where we put this dock system Cayman WILL suffer ireversable environmental damage and when that happens all the TEA in China will not be able to fix it again.Humpty Dumpty had it easy compared to what we will face.We as adults will not feel it as much as our kids and our grandkids.Go figure.

  5. Knot S Smart says:

    I am confident that Alden and Mr Moses and their government will do a good job to restore prosperity back to our islands.

    We have elected them to represent us and now we just need to give them the chance..

    • And Another Ting says:

      Now they are telling us that there is a consideration for someone local to develop one pier by Burger King.  Didn't these jokers just say that that they were not giving out any coastal work licenses?. Ya coming or ya going Peeps. And Another Ting.

  6. noname says:

    The figure actually given was anywhere between $100m and $200m…. the exact price is determined by a competitive bid process. Doubtful it can be done for $100m – the PwC consultant acknowledged that at the meeting.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Waste of money and time at this stage, the pier should have been built in 08/09. I cannot see any company wanting to engage in a PPP without major concessions which puts us back at square one. 

    If any company is willing to build the piers, I guarantee that a clause will be inserted, stating that the goverment has to pay for any shortfalls in cruise ship numbers. 

    Gov should be focusing on stayover tourism with an eco angle, similar to Costa Rica, probably too late to develop eco tourism with the state of the local environment. 

    Short sightedness and greed have placed the Cayman Islands in this predicament and I doubt there is an easy way out.



  8. Anonymous says:

    Having been at the meeting (a) $100 million isn't all that was said and (b) half of the questions about 'how will who pay for what' were addressed. I don't support the port plan but they deserve better reporting as half of the objections on the board would have been answered in the original article.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      Hello, the question needs to be raised as to the grounds for choosing Price Waterhouse what was their price compared to others ,?. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cruise visitors are quite tacky and cheap.  I prefer when they are not around.  The summer Carnival passengers are terrfying.

    • Anonymous says:

      You must not have a business that makes money from them.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are right.  I never felt the urge to sell tacky pirate t-shirts.

      • Anonymous says:

        You mean one of the cheesy stores that have turned George Town into a soulless ghost town after the ships go?

    • Anonymous says:

      Will you complain when the Govt does not have enough money to help pay for a family's or friend's groceries for a day or money to help subsidise a child's education?


      The Govt collects a certain amount of dollars per cruise passenger, and that money is used for general expenditure purposes. I hope you dont have to rely on Govt funding for anything.

      • Anonymous says:

        All the more reason to cut the numbers.  Too much dependency on welfare.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The most economical solution would be to amalgamate the airport and the new cruise facility. The piers could easily be extended to act as runways and used at nighttime byairlines which would leave the runways free to be used as piers by crusie ships during the day. Airline staff prefer to work at night when most passengers are asleep.    

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don't think cig is prepared to give up all that the cruise lines would ask for in exchange of building piers.   Negotiation power is not on cig side.   To play hardball, the cruiselines do not build the piers, while turning around and threatening to reduce ships because there are no piers! How is cig going to get "value for money"? These deals with the cruise lines would be so one sided, it will make dart's contracts ooze value for money.

    • Anonymous says:

      That's why Govt has PwC to help determine if they are getting V f M.

  12. Rrp says:

    Forget these piers for now. With this money we can have a world class airport.  Then build a 5star hotel/casino.  Maybe we can get some of those Hollywood people to come here and blow their money here as they do in Monaco. Maybe some of them will like cayman as much as to build multi million dollar homes and invest in our country.   Let's aim to compete at an exclusive level!  Why are we planning to compete with Mexico or Jamaica by building these piers?

    each cruiser spends 100 per visit. It takes 10,000 to spend a million.  It only takes 1 celebrity to spend as much.  Let's aim big!

    • Anonymous says:

      Some days, when I wake up and read some of these comments, I wonder WTF I am. 

    • Anonymous says:

      "With this money we can have a world class airport."

      Pay attention!!  I don't think the Cruise Lines are going to pay to us to build an airport .  World Class or otherwise.

    • Ya Mon says:

      Make up your mind man – you hate foreigners and they all need to get out, you love foreigners and you want them to come, you don't want strangers here but you want them to build million dollar houses here…  but you pass laws to make sure they can't live in them… holy crap man, what kind of people do you think there are in the world that will come live in this chaos?

  13. Anonymous says:

    We need to make GT more pedestrian friendly and encourage more activities there.  Cruise tourism has increased exponentially over the last 30 years due to our geographic location , the general growth in the cruise industry and of course of natural attributes.

    The cruise lines reap a tremedous and disproportionate share of profit from all the tours they sell on board.

    We will regret the day we build those concrete monstrosities in our lovely harbour. Mark my words.


    • Arf says:

      GT could host ghetto-tourism.  We'd just need to leave the bullet holes unpatched.  The boarded up businesses make a good backdrop for that.

  14. Anonymous says:

    If its going to cost that much, we might as well ditch the piers and use that money to invest in our airport upgrade. Stayover tourists spend way more and contribute to the economy more anyway.

    • Ben Hurlstone says:

      If it can be built for $100,000 000, you can bet it will cost $200,000,000 before it is finished.  An unbelievable waste of the people's money.  The commenters are right when they say the cruise visitors don't spend as much per person as the stay-overs.  Forget the cruise ship docks.  Put what money there is in expanding our air service and bring in people that help the economy.  It would also make sense to get in some knowledgeable people to control crime.  If we're ready to upgrade, let's do it right!

    • Anonymous says:

      Neither the airport upgrade nor the Cruise Ship Terminal will guarantee that people will continue to come, no matter how nice the facilities are going to be. At the end of the day, people chose their destination mainly based on price and what they can do once they get there.

      Cayman has priced itself out of the market. It is no longer an affordable destination and the rich and famous can go to a gazillion other places to visit………and just because they have money doesn't mean they will put up with overpriced vacation destinations.

      I suggest that money is instead used to lower income duty which should allow prices to be dropped. Tourists must be able to shop, eat out and enjoy various activities. Right now they can not – a lot of the retired people who used to spend all winter in Cayman can no longer afford the grocery and liquor bill!

      Clean up the dump, the roads, and preserve the last little bit of tranquility and nature Cayman has left. A fancy airport and cruis ship dock is NOT the answer!

  15. anonymous says:

    Cayman will never collect enough Cruise ship taxes to pay for this project.  Bottom liine:  Is it worth the money?  Cayman already has a "Turtle Farm" it cannot afford, an Airline the Gov't. pays for, and now this? 

  16. Anonymous says:

    its frightening to think that caymanian politicians are actually responsible for such vast sums of money………

  17. Anonymous says:

    $100million and the rest. By the time the project over-runs I'll bet you can safely triple that. This is 'think of a nice round figure and quote it' time. It's like the old garage trick of quoting you $250 for a repair then finding other things that need doing so the final tab is nearer $800. 

    • Anonymous says:

      we should have let mckeeva and the chinese do their thing !!

      we all stupid !  the dock would be finishe by now ! ( almost )  FREE !!

      • Anonymous says:

        And Dart and the Chinese would split the spoils ( Cayman) between them.

        If you pay attention the docks will be funded by the cruise lines not the people of the cayman islands and we will not be giving up control or ownership and having another retail "city" built to kill our local merchants.

      • Anonymous says:

        I supported Bush most of the time but even I will that would have been a hugh mistake..

      • Anonymous says:

        The scary thing is you actually believe that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Get your head out, my friend.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know about anyone else’s opinion but isn’t this just like reinventing the wheel. Why did PWC need to tell the CIG that Cruise piers where needed, I thought everyone knew this for years. And is it really rocket science to know that it will require a Private Public partnership to build it when everyone already knows that Cayman can’t afford it themselves nor can they borrow the money to do it. So this basically means that they need someone else to pay for it which by the way means that they will not be able to completely dictate the terms. I can only imagine how much PWC made from providing information to the CIG that is already commonly known.


    May small opinion is that they shouldn’t only be focused on GT for the piers, if it risks hurting SMB is the idea just going to be dropped or will they look at alternative locations such as the Red Bay idea that came up a little while back. And as far who’s to pay for it, why not make a public offering to sale shares to private investors so everyone rich or not could invest into it. Treat it as a startup business and raise the capital thru stock sales then build the damn thing when there’s enough capital to do it.  This would give everyone a chance to own a piece of it as well as get a turnaround on their investment when the share prices go up which they will when it’s up and running.


    Kikconnell's comment about them running for office on a platform of developing the port in the capital and nowhere else just goes to prove that this is a politically driven endevor and the choices that are made will not be made for what best for the Cayman Islands as a whole but will be based on whats best for people's political careers. This seems to be common practice in Cayman

  19. Capt Clarity says:

    LOL have you ever seen any govt project stay on budget?

    PPM are lying to the people the dock will cost at a minimum 200m for 2 piers. Come on Moses we expect better from you 

    • Truthseeker says:

      According to the Auditor General, the Government Admin Building (built under PPM) was on time and essentially on budget. 


      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks to Jim Scott's project managing of it, Truthseeker.

        • Anonymous says:

          You mean the PPM hired the right people for the job and then the politicians kept their noses out of things (like asking for post-design) changes? Sounds good, and I don't support PPM.

        • Truthseeker says:

          Thank you for putting a name to this success. I suspect Jim was guilty of the henious crime of doing things the right way, i.e. not "putting substance over process".  Truthseeker is not a PPM supporter, rather a supporter of truth and honesty.  McKeeva's response to this embarrasing success was of course to try to sell the building. 

  20. Anonymous says:

    Is that $100m or a Cayman Island Government $100m?

  21. Anonymous says:

    One has to keep in mind that the Clifton Hunter project was budgetted at $55mln, and wound up being well north of $110mln actual, the principal and interest on which we will be servicing for decades.  The most optimistic assumptions of economic benefit for the half-baked 4 berth plan are $225mln over 20 years.  If the $100mln fixed cost estimate doubles like Clifton Hunter did, then there is a real possibility of zero net benefit.  Then there is maintenance.  If we can spend $10mln a year feeding turtles, imagine how much it will cost to maintain this development?  Even if Cayman had the spare finance capacity to entertain this project (which we don't), we would risk losing out on the opportunity cost of deploying that capital elsewhere where it might advance the country, or may be necessary for emergency.  If anyone wants to roll the dice on the metrics of this project, it should be the FCCA members and other local business groups with their dollars, not the CIG public purse thank you very much.    

    • Anonymous says:

      Great reminder of Alden and PPM  financial management skills

      • Truthseeker says:

        Clifton Hunter was in the process of being built to a fixed cost contract when McKeeva essentially shut the work down. It was the UDP government that finished the work in piecemeal fashion without proper oversight and spent all the extra money. Great UDP example of financial management skills, just like the Turtle Farm redevelopment, Cohen loan, etc. etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        They gave us a beautiful school, in spite of mceewa doubling the cost after getting elected by criticising them for spending too much.

  22. Who the Cap Fits says:

    Well well they have finally given a figure hooray!.  Now lets talk, where is/are the developre(s) going to recupe their funds from? Government cant borrow, they cant increase cruis ship passenger fee, Govt has already said the cruise ships or whoever is chosen  cant get their cruise fee dol;lars so please explain how it works ans stop speaking in parables please!. Also,needing explanation to the statement not allowing coastal works license for local dvelopers, who are these people working for is it not us the locals, what kind of hogwash without an explanation is this.  Mind you. mind yourselves PPM.