The expected increase in the arrival of cruise ships calling at Kochi once the 25.72 crore cruise terminal arrives at Ernakulam Pier by February 2020 has given a boost to demand for beautify the port premises and the roads leading to them.
There is also great demand from tourists, tour operators, ground handling agents and tour guides to streamline procedures so that passengers can get off the ship as quickly as possible. This is because most ships arrive in Kochi in the morning and leave in the evening, leaving passengers with limited time for shopping and sightseeing.
Elderly people, children and others who disembarked from a cruise ship on Friday and the media who went to cover the event had a distressing experience at the Ernakulam wharf due to excessive delays in getting there. security clearance and other procedures. Among those who had to wait in winding queues at the loading dock, risking sunburn and sunstroke, was Lau Chap Yan, 80, from Hong Kong. “Such security checks are simply unnecessary. I haven’t seen this in any other port. It made hundreds of people wait a long time in the sun, ”he said.
Security personnel have often been seen yelling at people who have expressed annoyance at having to wait long in the sun. Officials aboard the ship requested several security clearance counters to avoid such inconvenience.
“Indian and foreign tourists are also put off by the piles of plastic and garbage that dot the roads and trails leading to the port. Most of the clients are elderly and have mobility issues. Precautions must be taken to ensure their safety, while the trails must be wide, easily accessible and at a uniform level, ”said a tour guide. Elderly foreign tourists could be seen walking the road, as the trails in the port area are in poor condition.
Senior port officials said procedures would be streamlined when the dedicated 2,253m² cruise terminal is ready in early 2020.