Motobu & Hirara Ports picked as base ports for cruise ships

The Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Ministry announced Tuesday that a committee comprised of international cruise ship companies and concerned municipalities have selected six ports to be developed as base ports for cruise ships. Motobu and Hirara Ports were selected from Okinawa. The cruise lines will have a priority to use the piers in these ports.

The deal is a part of a public-private partnership project to create base ports for international cruise ships, and the Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Ministry collected information from all ports in Japan last October through December. They formed an exploratory committee consisting of experts from concerned ports and representatives of the cruise ship companies.

According to the plan, the cruise ship companies will develop port facilities, like waiting areas, tourist information centers, and passenger terminals including facilities for customs, immigration, and quarantine station. Other companies would be allowed to use these facilities but the cruise lines that develop the facilities would have the priority. Local governments who manage the port are tasked to develop the quay.

In the case of Motobu Port, the Okinawa Prefecture government and Genting Hong Kong Ltd. are partnering for the development of the port. The partners envision 88 port calls by cruise liners per year in 20 years, increasing the ports calls to 104 per year in 30 years.

According to the committee, “Motobu Port is the main gate to the northern parts of Okinawa Main Island, and this project will utilize the rich tour resources and attractive sightseeing spots in the area.” The committee also pointed out that to start the envisioned business, the customs, immigration and quarantine facilities must be constructed first.

In the case of Hirara Port, Miyakojima City and Carnival Corporation PLC are preparing for the development to start the business in 2020. They expect 250 port calls in 2020, aiming to 310 in 2026.