From building the Port of Venice into a major cruise hub, posting 1.8 million cruise passengers in 2012, Venice Passenger Terminal SpA (VTP) has been expanding its operations to four more Italian ports – Ravenna, Catania, Cagliari and Brindisi.
Meanwhile, the VTP is also expanding in Venice. According to Commercial Manager Francesco Drigo, a warehouse will be renovated to become Terminals 109 and 110 on the Tagliamento pier, adjacent to Terminals 107 and 108.
When completed, Venice will have 10 terminals, Drigo explained, able to handle six big ships at a time at the Marittima station and two to three smaller vessels at the S. Basilio Terminal.
Roberto Perocchio, managing director of VTP, said that the new terminal will be 14,000 square meters on two levels with a modular design, allowing interior adjustments to accommodate different sizes of ships.
The new terminal will be equipped with boarding bridges, and tunnels will be built between the new and the existing terminals to facilitate luggage movement.
Venice opened another new facility, Cruise Terminal 1 Isonzo, last April (2012).
Future plans also include alternative marine power provided from a generator on a floating barge.
Perocchio also provided an update on VTP’s other port engagements: Completing only its third season last year, Ravenna hosted 140,000 passengers in 2012.Dredging is underway that will further facilitate docking, and roadways and signage have been improved for the new season. A second pier is will be added later this year. Ravenna functions both as a homeport and port of call.
Improvements and upgrades are also underway in Catania, which hosted 250,000 passengers in 2012, up 20 percent from the year before. Congestion will be eased by moving the ferry traffic away from the cruise facilities. Shore experiences include a number of new walking tours. Local attractions feature the Teatro Massimo Bellini opera house.
Cagliari benefits from a mild climate and year-round cruises and can accommodate the largest ships, Perocchio noted. Temporary welcome and check-in facilities will be replaced a new terminal building scheduled to open in 2014. A covered pedestrian walkway will offer passengers and crew easy access to the city center, or a 10-minute bus ride to some of the world’s best beaches, according to Perocchio. The town is also known for its flamingos. Cagliari expects 70 calls in 2013.
Perocchio described Brindisi as “a small port, but an excellent door to a greater, unexplored area with tremendous tourism potential.” Terminal construction is underway, while tender services are offered this year. Last year, Brindisi saw about 50 calls, which are expected to double by 2014.
The VTP, founded in 1997 by the Port of Venice, also has an engineering division which has developed technological solutions for passenger movements, including boarding bridges.