The Port of Galveston, one of the nation’s largest cruise and cargo port, will soon undergo the development of a fourth cruise terminal complex, which will be used by MSC Cruises.

The full story

The city-owned Galveston Wharves and international cruise company MSC Cruises finalized an operating agreement that will allow the company to use the port’s new $142 million cruise terminal complex, which officials will begin developing in early 2024, according to a February news release from Galveston Wharves.

The Port of Galveston is the fourth most popular cruise home port in the U.S., hosting 1.49 million cruise passengers in 2023—a 43% increase over 2022, according to the news release.

By the numbers

A fourth cruise terminal is forecast to generate an additional 925 jobs and $177 million in local business revenue annually, including passenger fees and sales tax revenue from cruise parking, according to the news release.

According to the port’s 2019 board-approved 20-Year Strategic Master Plan, the fourth cruise terminal was not anticipated to be needed until 2031, sad Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, in the news release.

“We’re able to begin this new project now because Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., a long-standing cargo tenant, has outgrown its facilities in Galveston,” Rees said in the news release. “We are happy to see that Del Monte was able to relocate 30 miles to the south in Freeport, thus retaining its regional economic impact. We leveraged this opportunity based on the unprecedented popularity of the cruise industry and our optimal location in the central part of the United States.”

One more thing

The 20-year agreement, which allows for four five-year extension options, grants MSC Cruises a set cruise schedule beginning in November 2025 when the terminal opens, according to the news release. The port of Galveston can also negotiate with other cruise lines to use the terminal based on availability.

Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect Galveston is one of the largest ports in the United States.