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Hamburg Starts Building Third Cruise Terminal Amid Boom

Hamburg started construction of a third cruise-ship terminal at Germany’s biggest port to prepare for passenger numbers that may almost double by 2022.

The government of Germany’s second most-populous city will spend about 80 million euros ($108.7 million) turning a disused dock area into a facility the size of two soccer pitches by June 2015, said Jens Meier, chief executive officer of Hamburg Port Authority. More than 1 million passengers annually may use the three cruise terminals in eight years, the agency estimates.

“There are new ships entering the market that will be able to operate all year long, including in northern Europe, and this project takes this into consideration,” Meier said in a speech aboard the Aida Luna cruise liner on the way to the groundbreaking ceremony.

Global cruise-ship passenger numbers rose 77 percent to 21.3 million in the decade through 2013, exceeding the 57 percent expansion in overall tourism mainly comprised of land-based holidaymakers, according to a report commissioned by the European branch of Cruise Lines International Association. Direct spending on operating expenses by the industry in Germany rose 3.6 percent last year to 3.1 billion euros.

Hamburg expects about 200 cruise vessels to use its port this year, with about 600,000 passengers embarking or disembarking, city Economy Minister Frank Horch said at today’s event. The industry has created 1,500 local jobs in recent years, and it generated 300 million euros in “added value in the Hamburg region,” he said.

The new terminal will have parking space for 1,500 cars and capacity to process as many as 4,000 passengers boarding a ship simultaneously with the same number leaving the vessel, said Meier. “You would need a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) long train to transport these 8,000 people, which underlines what this terminal needs to handle,” he said.

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