The Port of Galveston serves over one million passengers per year, ranking it fourth in the United States, and plans to expand its infrastructure with strategic updates in the near future.
The port is investing approximately $33 million in cruise-related infrastructure upgrades, with the goal of reaping millions more in future revenues and economic growth for the community and region, according to a statement by the Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees.
Galveston’s capital improvements are part of the port’s strategic master plan, which was approved by the board in 2019 and will last for the next 20 years. Other projects planned by the port include upgrades to accommodate more and larger ships, as well as more passengers. All of these are funded by the port through cash reserves, operating income, loans, grants, and public/private partnerships.
According to Rees, the port’s most significant expansion will be the addition of a third cruise terminal at Pier 10 in November 2022, a project which was brought to life through a public/private partnership with Royal Caribbean International. The latter is constructing a 161,000-square-foot terminal to homeport its Allure of the Seas and will contribute an estimated $110 million to the project to build the terminal. The port is investing nearly $22 million in pier repairs, site work, utilities, and cruise parking for 1,800 vehicles. This new terminal is expected to generate significant revenue and jobs for the port and regional economy.
As Rees further noted, Galveston also plans to spend about $11 million on improvements at cruise terminals 25 and 28 in preparation for the Carnival Jubilee, which is scheduled to homeport starting in November 2023.
To accommodate the new ship, the port will construct a second gangway, internal improvements to allow for more efficient passenger processing, and a federally mandated facility for US Customs and Border Protection. In addition, beginning this year, the Ruby Princess will sail from December 2022 to April 2023 from cruise terminals 25 and 28.