Talks may be going on behind the scenes regarding the Falmouth Gateway project and the capital dredging of the harbour but Cornwall Council now need to give some positive reassurance to the public at large that it is fully committed to this important scheme that will catapult Cornwall into the international limelight if and when funding is available.

A co-ordinated effort is now required to give a clear message to government that enough is enough, decisions have to be made and made quickly by the Marine Management Organisation for the future prosperity of Cornwall.

Cornwall councilors with the exception of former mayor Geoffrey Evans and Candy Atherton, do not in general appear to have their fingers on the pulse about the European cruise industry otherwise they would be banging the drum to promote the region along with the regeneration of the Port of Falmouth.

If they took time to read the Cruise Europe website they would see the major investments being made and the financial gains other European ports are enjoying whilst Falmouth is the poor relation. All around north west Europe many ports have already or are in the process of developing their infrastructure to welcome this burgeoning cruise industry which generates €16 billion for the whole region along with 360,000 jobs.

Is the port too late jumping on the band wagon ?

Cornwall’s largest port is screaming for large infrastructure development and dredging in order to survive in the long term and enjoy the benefits of an expanding cruise industry. There are just two routes the port can take. Either dredge to attract the larger vessels or stay in limbo enjoying a somewhat static market of approximately 30 cruise ships per annum. A new deep water berth and channel will open up other opportunities for ship repair activity when not in use during the cruise season.

Falmouth is now regarded in certain quarters as the UK’s fourth naval base – home to many Royal Fleet Auxiliary and RN vessels under the Cluster agreement between the MOD and the A&P Group.

Later this summer RFA Tidespring arrives from the builders yard in South Korea, to be followed at intervals by her three sister ships. These are large deep-draughted tankers requiring maximum under keel clearance.

Falmouth can stand shoulder to shoulder with many ports around the world in terms of its deep-water harbour and outstanding natural beauty. Coupled with Cornwall’s unique heritage, flora and fauna, fantastic coastline and visitor amenities all of the ingredients are in place to offer cruise passengers a memorable shoreside experience.

Globally, the general trend in the cruising is changing from smaller ships to high-end ships and mega cruise ships carrying 4,000 plus passengers. Our comparison port of Cobh in Ireland is reaping the benefits of investment and upgrades year on year.

Chief executive of the Port of Cork, Captain Michael McCarthy said, “We know that the cruise industry is worth between £10 and £12 million annually to Cork alone so there are some major opportunities for the tourist industry to capitalise on this.”

McCarthy is a man of great vision and has a passion for his port. His experience of the industry paid off when he was appointed chairman of Cruise Europe, an organisation comprising of over 110 member ports all keen to promote cruising to their respective ports. Groups of ports have formed partnerships allowing cruise companies to plan itineraries.

The latest port to announce development of its facilities is Runavik in the Faroe Islands which is extending its quay at King’s Harbour from 101m to 320m with a depth of 12m to accommodate cruise ships.

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