The Port of Galveston has said that they are preparing for a “safe, sustainable return of cruise business” amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was announced in a statement made by the port’s CEO and director, Rodger Rees.
“We don’t know exactly when cruising will resume from Galveston, but we want to be ready when it does,” Rees said.
Among the port’s preparation efforts is a renovation of its two cruise terminals with the installation of touchless bathroom fixtures, plexiglass shields in customer service areas, and enhanced air handling systems.
The port has also announced that its working on projects that will improve Galveston’s internal roadway, upgrade the West Port in preparation for the move of cargo operations from the East Port, and improve the infrastructure at the East Port in preparation for the construction of the third cruise terminal.
The construction of the third cruise terminal was agreed upon by Galveston and Royal Caribbean Cruises through the signing of a long-term contract in December 2019.
The contract stipulated that the new two-story terminal – at about 170,000 square feet on 10 acres of land – would be built by Royal Caribbean and then leased from the port for an initial term of 20 years, with four 10-year extension options. The construction – costing a $100 million – was meant to start in April 2020 to be completed in fall 2021, but the global coronavirus pandemic has delayed these plans.
Rees’ September 27 statement also highlighted that the port is operating in the black, despite the challenges.
“Thanks to a fantastic first quarter, we have a positive operating cash flow of $1.5 million for 2020. We have focused on cargo/lay business on the revenue side while our expenses remain under our amended budget by almost 5 percent,” Rees stated.
In 2019, Galveston Wharves set its all-time revenue records with a 19 percent increase in revenues and a 52 percent increase in net income.