Matthew Crabbe’s Access Asia newsletter reports a rather unfortunate piece of planning in Shanghai.
It appears that cruise ships headed for Shanghai’s much vaunted new cruise terminal first need to duck under a low bridge. Not good news in the era of super-sized cruise ships.
There has been much reporting lately of the new Beijing T3 terminal, and how only China could do something so grand so quickly without all that bothersome consultation. But, in Shanghai, there lies a little-reported story that suggests a bit more consultation might help.
Stand on the Bund, and look towards the North Bund development in Hongkou, and you’ll see one of the best bits of post-modern architecture in Shanghai – the new and gleaming 130,000 sq m international cruise terminal, built by Shanghai International Port Group. A marvellous glass bubble on stilts to welcome passengers, as Shanghai aims to relive the glory days of its past as a cruise ship destination, and is due to fully open for business this month.
Then gaze further down river, and you will spy the red towers of a massive bridge in the lower reaches of the Huangpu, the Yangpu, which opened in 1993 providing a much needed additional river crossing.
However, there’s a problem. Ships larger than 87,000 gt cannot pass beyond the bridge, and progress upriver to the terminal. Right now, there are about 276 cruise ships operating globally – nearly 100 of these are in excess of 87,000 gross tons, and so cannot berth at the terminal. OK, so with the business still young in China, most ships using the terminal are just shy of the limit. Royal Caribbean, one of the biggest cruise ship operators, sent its 1997-built, 78,491 gt Rhapsody of the Seas to Shanghai with beds for 2,400 people.
But the industry is changing fast, and cruise ships being built and commissioned now are well in excess of 87,000 gt, while the smaller ones are being gradually de-commissioned. For instance, Royal Caribbean’s latest ship, Genesis, can accommodate 5,400 guests and weighs 220,000 gt. That’s the future.
So anything larger than 87,000 gt will not get to the sparkling new terminal, thanks to the low bridge, and will have to berth at the scenic and relaxing roll on/roll off terminal in Waigaoqiao, which, in rush hour, can be close to an hour’s bus ride from the Hongkou terminal. At best, Waigaoqiao can handle four cruise ships at any one time. More than 100 international cruise ships are expected to stop by Shanghai this year. The terminal will be home to a plethora of luxury goods shops and several hotels have sprung up nearby – if only there was no Yangpu bridge.
That’s what no consultation gets you.
Enjoy this story? Here’s some of the tantalizing reports from the Access Asia website:
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Sounds like a feast ‘o fun!