The Port of Tallinn opened the new 9.34 million Euro cruise ship quay on Saturday, May 17. The quay will allow larger cruise ships than before to be docked, thus increasing Tallinn’s attractiveness for cruise operators.
The official ceremony of quay opening took place at 14:15 on Saturday. The quay was opened during the symbolic unmooring performed by the Board Member of AS Tallinna Sadam Allan Kiil, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Urve Palo, the Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Taavi Aas, and the head of the Estonian branch of the BMGS construction company Leho Alliksoo.
“For the Port of Tallinn, the construction of the new quay was the largest single investment last year,” said Alan Kiil, the Board Member of AS Tallinna Sadam. “This investment will, on the one hand, satisfy the growing demand for Tallinn as a tourist destination and, on the other hand, help us meet the needs of cruise operators that want to use larger and larger vessels.”, said Mr. Kiil.
According to Urve Palo, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, there is still potential for the increase in the numbers of cruise tourists on the Baltic Sea resulting from the joint marketing of Tallinn and other cruise destinations of the Baltic Sea, which will obviously affect the economy of the tourist destinations.
“It is estimated that a cruise tourist leaves an average of 56.7 euros in Tallinn, buying goods and services. Even at the present half a million of cruise tourists per year that amounts to over 30 million euros injected into local economy, in addition to such indirect effects as the jobs created in tourism agencies and catering facilities and the taxes received from these.” , said Mr. Palo.
With the new quay, the Port of Tallinn will be able to moor cruise ships up to 340 metres in length, up to 42 metres in width, and with the draft of up to nine metres.
The first vessel to moor at the new cruise quay was the 330-metre long Royal Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, and bringing over 3,000 tourists to Tallinn.
The construction of the new quay next to the existing cruise ships quay in the Old City harbour started in May 2013. The total length of the quay built by the Estonian branch of BMGS is 421 metres; it is 20 metres wide, and the guaranteed depth at the quay wall is 11 metres. The cruise ship quay has also been outfitted with electricity supply, outdoor lighting, communications equipment and pipelines for supplying ships with utility water and removing waste water.
The volume of bottom dredging amounted to a total of 12,300 cubic metres, and over 200 steel piles 30–46 metres in length were installed in the seabed in the course of the construction. The total amount of concrete cast for the construction purposes was 6,600 cubic metres.
Tallinn is to welcome around 300 vessels bringing approximately 470,000 cruise tourists during this cruise season. The summer cruise season lasts until 26 September, but cruise tourists are expected to visit Tallinn in October and December as well.
May 20, 2014; Image: Port of Tallinn