The Port of Galveston currently has three cruise terminals and is moving forward with a plans for fourth terminal to open as early as 2025.

The Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees voted on Nov. 7 to approve a $5.3 million engineering and architecture services contract for a fourth cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston, America’s fourth most popular cruise port.

Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, said, “This vote moves us one step closer to finalizing a budget and construction plans to open a new terminal at Pier 16 as early as 2025.”

The port will engage Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. (BA) for design development, construction documents and permitting bidding. The scope of work will include design for the terminal building, a parking garage, marine structure improvements, a passenger boarding bridge, and civil improvements such as surface parking, access roads and utilities.

At its Oct. 31 meeting, the board voted unanimously to move forward with a fourth cruise terminal, confirming their support for expanding the port’s cruise business. The terminal is included in the port’s 20-Year Strategic Master plan adopted by the board in 2019.

“The master plan projected the need for a fourth terminal in the 2030s, but due to cruise industry growth and acreage at Pier 16 coming available earlier than expected, we have the opportunity to move forward now,” Rees said.

In March the board engaged BA for preliminary engineering then amended the agreement in April for BA to develop a schematic-level design. In September the board approved a construction manager-at-risk (CMAR) contract with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. for pre-construction services.

Rees said, “With terminal and parking garage preliminary construction estimates of almost $140 million, we’re looking to trim costs and get to a final budget. Then we can make plans for financing the project with a combination of port cash reserves and revenue bonds,” Rees said.

Separately, the port and MSC Cruises are negotiating an agreement related to the terminal. MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as the market leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region and Southern Africa. It is also the fastest growing global cruise brand with a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.