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Shanghai set to have Asia's largest cruise ship port next year

SHANGHAI'S Wusongkou port is expected to become Asia's biggest home port for cruise liners next year, officials said today after another top cruise company chose to base at the Shanghai port.

The Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in Baoshan District has been home to five major cruise lines, while a total of 217 cruises with over 1 million passengers will berth at the port by the end of this year, said Fang Shizhong, governor of the district.

"The world's major cruise liner market has moved to the east to China, while Baoshan will become the top cruise line harbor of China," Fang said as the 115,000-ton Sapphire Princess set its maiden voyage from its new home port in Baoshan today.

Some 70,000 passengers, mostly Chinese, will take the cruise in the next four months to South Korea and Japan.

So far, the heaviest cruise ship in Asia, Royal Caribbean's 138,000-ton Mariner of The Seas, and the world's major luxury cruise line Princess have made Wusongkou a home port.

The Wusongkou Port will surpass Singapore in 2015 to become Asia's biggest cruise line home port, said Lu Guangyuan, general manager of the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal Development Co Ltd.

The port will launch a major expansion in September. After the renovation, the terminal can berth two 200,000-ton super-sized cruise vessels at one time.

The development of the cruise economy also brings opportunities to other businesses in the area. Baoshan plans to build recreational facilities, luxury hotels, shopping malls and a marina in the area, said Fang.

Developed by Baoshan District and Shanghai Yangtze Shipping Corp, Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal is the biggest cruise liner terminal in Asia and cost 870 million yuan (US$142.7 million). The depot is shaped like a giant silver shell, symbolizing the "eye of the Yangtze River."

Compared with the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal on the north Bund, the Wusongkou terminal features the advantages of deeper water and a better location, which saves six hours on an international trip.

Also, only cruise liners weighing less than 70,000 tons can berth at Shanghai Port due to height restrictions to clear Yangpu Bridge. Wusongkou has no such restriction.


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