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Concern is mounting about lack of action at Phuket's deep sea port

Phuket Port Delays Trigger Extra Fees

Thursday, October 18, 2012
PHUKET: Expansion of Phuket's deep sea port facilities are expected to begin early next year as at least one cruise ship line complains about rising costs.

On of the cruise lines has had to pay extra fees because Phuket's deep sea port is too small, a meeting heard yesterday at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City.

As much as 50,000 baht had been paid in compensation to cargo ships when cruise ships occupied the dock, Phuket dock manager Sopon Meaungpratab told the meeting.

Plans to extend the dock by 60 metres so it could accommodate two large ships at once have been held up for two years because of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

''We now hope to have approval so that work can start on the port extension early next year,'' said Khun Sopon, who represents Chaophaya Terminal International.

The lack of facilities at Phuket makes the island's provision for relatively well-heeled cruise passengers look shabby by comparison with Singapore, Hong Kong and other popular Asian destinations where cruise ship facilities have been upgraded to cater for growing numbers of luxury passengers.

Problems on Phuket continue because cruise liner sizes have increased so that at present, only one large ship can dock at the existing 360-metre facility at Cape Panwa on Phuket's east coast.

The extension of the dock by another 60 metres would enable multiple docking. Construction could take as little as 13 months, Khun Sopon said yesterday.

Indications were that environmental impact approval was now likely soon, he said.

The go-ahead for the enlarged port at a cost of 120 million baht would provide a waiting room and Customs facilities with a restaurant and greater space for parking taxis and buses.

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