The construction of Macau’s new Pac On ferry terminal – located near the airport on Taipa Island and designed to bring mass market tourists direct to the nearby Cotai resorts – is again facing delays, the director of the government’s Infrastructure Development Office, Chan Hon Kit, confirmed on Tuesday.
The terminal is already more than four years late and more than five times over its original budget. Even now, officials cannot guarantee it will be operational by the end of this year, they admitted on Tuesday.
The new permanent terminal was expected to be fully operational by the second quarter of this year the government said as recently as February. But on Tuesday, Mr Chan said only that his department was hopeful that the ferry terminal’s construction phase would be completed by the end of the year.
“We hope the construction is completed by year-end,” Mr Chan told reporters. He blamed the recent delay on some of the contractors and on bad weather.
The terminal was originally scheduled to be up and running by 2009. Currently only a temporary terminal is in operation, with a limited number of sailings per hour.
One of the government’s stated uses for the new site was to help deliver more tourists to the Cotai area and the casino resorts there. Currently many tourists arriving by ferry disembark at the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal on Macau peninsula and are then bussed to Cotai.
The completed Pac On ferry terminal will be able to handle about 40 ferries an hour, according to government officials. The Taipa pier would have 19 berths and 114 immigration clearance counters and e-channels.
But the work has been marred by delays and controversy, mainly the result of changes in the design of the permanent terminal including its enlargement.
The budget for the project was MOP500 million (US$62.6 million) in 2005 when construction started, but it had swelled to MOP3.2 billion by 2013. The government has said it cannot guarantee that will be the final price tag.
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