Benoa aims to be hub port for cruise ships

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Becoming increasingly popular as a destination port and turn-around port, Benoa is aiming to expand its operations to become a hub port for cruise ships.

By being a hub port, Benoa would be an arrival and departure point for cruise ships from around the world, with cruise operators establishing their home base in Bali.

“Cruises would originate from this port and return here after completing their journey,” Ali Sodikin, general manager of Pelindo III Benoa–the company that manages the port, said Wednesday.

Currently, Benoa is a destination port, welcoming cruise ships that drop off passengers to enjoy the island. The passengers then re-embark to continue their journey on the same ship.

The island’s southern seaport has also seen growing popularity as a turn-around port, where cruise ships drop off passengers to vacation in Bali. While these passengers take other transportation modes to leave the island, the cruise ships pick up other passengers before leaving for the next destination.

To become a hub port, the seaport authority first needs to propose a master plan to the provincial administration and Denpasar administration for approval.

According to Ali, the plan had secured approval from the provincial administration. “We are now waiting for approval from the city administration, hopefully we can get it this year,” he told The Jakarta Post.

The master plan will then be submitted to the Transportation Ministry. Once the ministry has approved the plan, Pelindo and the ministry will jointly improve the facilities to fulfill the requirements to be
a hub port.

“The facility improvements will take around 10 months. We are targeting starting operation as a hub port by 2017,” Ali said.

Among facilities that need improvement are the wharf, port basins and channel. “The wharf needs to be expanded to enable three cruise ships to dock at the same time,” Ali said.

Since 2009, Pelindo III had been attempting to attract cruise lines to build their home base here, he added.

Recent improvements to facilities at Benoa have resulted in Bali’s southernmost port seeing an increasing number of visiting cruise ships.

Throughout last year, the port welcomed 41 cruise liners, a slight increase from the 39 in 2012.

This year, 58 cruise operators have confirmed that they would call on the port during their voyage.

Ali attributed the soaring popularity of Benoa among cruise operators to the many improvements undertaken in the ship’s basin, as well as supporting facilities. In fact, Benoa is one of the favorite cruise ports in Indonesia.

Further upgrades are planned at the port this year, including repairing the southernmost pier and building a domestic passenger terminal.

The majority of cruise passengers visiting Benoa harbor are Australians and Americans, who accounted for some 60 percent of visitors, while the remaining 40 percent is a combination of Europeans and Asians.

In addition to the improved infrastructure — with proper docking facilities, passenger terminal and security system certified by the International Maritime Organization, the port is geographically strategic. It is close to the island’s famous tourist spots of Kuta, Sanur and Nusa Dua. It is also situated near Ngurah Rai International Airport and the new toll road.

(Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post)