After huge delays on the construction of the Pac On Ferry Terminal, the MOP3.9 billion project (sixfold the initial budget) is set to open its doors within the next six to nine months, with a capacity to accommodate 400,000 passengers per day.
Authorities said that the new five-floor-terminal is approximately 200,000 square meters; quadruple the size of the temporary Taipa ferry terminal. The upcoming terminal will accommodate three ferry operators, namely Turbo jet, Cotai Water Jet and Yuet Tung Shipping across its 16 berths. The project, which has a total of 88 immigration counters, will also feature three multifunctional berths that will house large ferries and cruise ships, while its heliport will accommodate five helicopters. The terminal floor area is four times bigger than the initial design size.
Authorities stated the helipad was reconstructed, as it first failed to meet the requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority. Although the terminal would not be fully ready by the expected date due to “renovation and improvement works,” Chou Chi Tak, acting director of Marine and Water Bureau, told the press that the temporary terminal operation will remain in place for now. “There are 110 sailings in Taipa terminal per day and about 7 million tourists use that terminal every year,” he explained. “So once the new one is open, the old one may likely be demolished. We hope to divert some tourists from Macau peninsula to Taipa.”
Transferring of the ferries to the new terminal would take place during the night when there are fewer sailings. Chou affirmed that once the temporary terminal stopped its operation, the new site would commence immediately without any interruption.
The acting director also mentioned that even when the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HKZMB) opens, there would still be a demand for a marine transport, adding that the figure of tourists coming into the region by sea is “pretty stable.”
Meanwhile Tomas Hoi, engineering chief officer of Infrastructure Development Office, defended the staggering project budget, stressing that the project focuses on the long-term development of the region.
“[In] this project, we got the needs from the users, so we make the designs according to the needs. Of course I think the project is not only for short term,” he stated.
Hoi also articulated the reasons behind several delays seen in several of the region’s infrastructure projects, outlining that such delays do not only occur in the region but in mainland China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asian countries.
“Of course there are some problems with human resources, the limitation of the space that we have here in Macau which will create difficulties for the contractor to apply some works,” he elaborated.
“That’s why I think there are no differences with other countries. […] Also in China and Hong Kong, these situations happen.”
Regarding penalties, Hoi hinted that the project was not subjected to fines despite “major changes and some additional works” as the contractor had completed the works by its set deadline, which was December of last year.
The construction of the last phase of the Pac On Ferry Terminal will only occur once it opens its doors, scheduled to be in May. The final phase will house gasoline storage tanks, fuel refill and firefighting equipment.
Authorities also confirmed that the Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal would continue to operate in the peninsula even after the new terminal commences operations. The acting director of Marine and Water Bureau, Chou Chi Tak, said that two-thirds of the ferries arriving to Macau would still be received in the Macau terminal, similar to its current operations.