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Ports in the Eastern and Western Deep-Sea

SWOT analysis

Strengths

  • A strong habour management team
  • Impeccable safety credentials
  • Experience in handling cruise vessels
  • Recreational facilities available at the port
  • Naturally deep waters favouring cost effective berth construction

Weaknesses

  • Few cruise vessel handling berths
  • Absence of a prior strategic plan for port expansion
  • Inadequate project management capacity for a project of this scale
  • Inadequate financial base for financing a project of this scale
  • Limited cruise vessels handling capacity

Opportunities

  • Long-standing relationship with port project financiers
  • Easy conversion of one general cargo berth into a cruise vessel berth
  • Growth in cruise vessel industry for tourism
  • Rapidly increasing cruise vessel traffic along port route
  • Strategic location of port at crossroads of Eastern and Western deep-sea trade routes

Threats

  • Long approval period for Port projects by authorities
  • Resistance from marine conservation activists
  • Stringent legislation governing port expansion
  • Inadequate regional infrastructure for handling tourism
  • Competition from better equiped habours enroute

Aspects of a marketing plan

Executive Summary

Ports in the Eastern and Western deep-sea trade routes are positioning themselves to take advantage of increasing cruise vessel traffic, which grew by fifty percent in the last five years and will grow by one hundred percent in the next five. It is composed of people on holiday, scientists, students, journalists and businesspersons. Cruise vessels provide better returns for ports compared to cargo ships. Many ports, financed by government agencies, are investing heavily to take advantage of this tourist market by developing resorts, malls and attractive tourist packages. Our port is loosing out to this competition because of capacity constraints.

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The port expansion project faces possible challenges from conservationists, slow project approval process by regional authorities and a stringent legal environment. The objectives of the port expansion project include convertion of one berth by December 2011and construction of a new one alongside it by December 2013. They also include marketing the port to potential tourists in source contries beginning November 2012 and finally construction of a 200-bed resort at the port.

Market appraisal

The cruise vessel segment is emerging as an important part of the shipping industry along the Eastern and western deep-sea trade routes. It is providing the option of enjoying vacations afloat to more and more tourists. Over the last five years, the total number of tourists using cruise ships has grown by 50 percent. Industry projections show that the current figure will go up by 100 percent in the next five years. These statistics warrant consideration because “It is important that the management of ports and terminals give due consideration to the longer-term as opposed to the shorter term” (Eastaugh and Moth 6).

This calls for the development of more berths in harbors along the route to meet the growing demand. According to industry sources, the average direct income to a harbor per cruising vessel docking along the route is three times as much as that from cargo ships. These cruise vessels have a shorter docking period, which means that there is a much-reduced turnaround time per vessel compared to the cargo ships. This is because they have no significant cargo to offload, which brings with it the advantage of requiring simpler berths, devoid of sophisticated cargo handling equipment and labor that normally inflate the costs of docking a cargo ship.

The cruise vessels mainly bring in tourists on vacation from different countries seeking to enjoy sea and port scenery from the viewpoint of a cruise vessel. The passanger mainly include perrenial holiday makers, families and couples on vacation. Most of vessels also carry some scientists and marine life researchers. It is usual to find students among the voyagers who opt to travel to educational centres via sea, since the fares are substantially lower than airfare. Occasionally, businesspersons and travelling journalists also travel in the cruise ships.

Appraisal of expected competition

A major repositioning by most ports along the Eastern and Western trade routes to take advantage of this lucrative market is underway. Most ports are investing in cruise vessel berths and support facilities such as hotels, hospitals and shopping malls targeting these voyagers. Some have gone as far as to build technical capacity to provide cruise vessels with technical support and diagnostics enroute.

Some ports, in conjunction with tourist agencies, have developed packages targeting travellers in cruise ships featuring brief inland excursions to attractive sites during stopovers at the ports. Locally, no major competition exists since this is the only port that can handle large cargo ships and the cruise vessels. Internationally, the competition is very stiff. Elaborate infrastructural outlay is taking place in neighbouring countries to position their seaports as tourist attractions in themselves.

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These ports are getting financing and support from state agencies towards this end. Our port currently serves as a minor stopover in the Eastern and Western trade routes because of its strategic location but it lacks recognition as a major stop by most cruise vessels. This is because of existing limitations in the carrying capacity of the port. The ports enroute will continue to present significant competition for our port.

Analysis of external factors, including environmental factors

A number of external factors will influence the port expansion project. Approvals from regional authorities for developments at the port generally take a lot of time because the authorities use rigorous methods to appraise and approve projects. The project presented for expansion of the port’s capacity to handle cruise vessels is not an exception. The long waiting time for approvals may delay the project.

Secondly, different national and regional laws exist to protect the port’s ecosystem because of very active marine conservation activism at the port. It is a tall order to wriggle through all these laws to implement a project of this magnitude. This is why the support of the local chapter of the conservationists remains paramount for the success of the project. The project design ensures that construction activities will not affect marine life at the port and thereafter, will not be at risk upon completion of the expansion project.

Specific detailed objectives

There are three specific objectives in this project designed to increase the port capacity to handle cruise vessels by fifty percent. The first one is to cost effectively convert the unused general cargo berth into a cruise ship berth by December 2011, and then to construct a new berth by December 2013 alongside it. The second objective is to develop and market in the six source countries, tourist packages for voyagers who have landed, covering the scenic port areas that are inaccessible to cruise ships, and some selected attractions inland to transform the port into a major stop for cruise ships, beginning November 2012. The third objective is to construct a 200-bed tourist resort at the port to provide resting facilies for voyagers docked at the port by December 2015.

First Customer at New Midland Port Cruise Vessel Berth Arrives

Midpoint Port has received its first customer for the recently converted berth. The cruise vessel named “Widewaters Explorer”, docked in with one hundred and fifty tourists on board. They have checked in at a local hotel near the port. This presents the first among a number of cruise vessels expected to dock in at the port in the coming weeks in the forthcoming tourism high season. Work is in progress to build a new berth at the port, which will increase the ports’ cruise vessel handling capacity by fifty percent, and soon thereafter, work on a two hundred-bed tourist resort will commence.

The Port’s chairperson, Mr. Jeffrey Floating received the guests, thanking them for choosing to land at Midpoint under an arrangement with a local tour operator. They vessel will be at the port for three days, which is the longest period any cruise vessel has spent at the port. The conversion of the general cargo ship berth into a cruise vessel berth started ten months ago to increase the ports capacity to handle cruise vessels. The expansion project will now move into the next phase, where the port is planning to build a new berth alongside the converted one, which will effectively increase the Ports cruise vessel handling capacity.

The port, in partnership with the Midpoint Tourism Association (M.T.A.) has developed special tourist packages for cruise vessels, which feature trips to scenic spots within the habour and some mainland attractions for the tourists’ pleasure. These packages target tourists from neighbouring countries. Six more vessels will dock in at the Port within the next one-month bringing over one thousand tourists to the port.

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This new initiative will see midland’s economy expand by at least fifty percent in the next two years. There are already offers from private developers to build shopping malls at the ports’ precincts to cater for the needs of the tourists. The head of the MTA, Mr. John Wander lauded the port for its expansion plans and noted that it will grow the sector by two hundred percent in the next seven years.

Part of the expansion plan includes the construction of a two hundred-bed tourist resort at the port. The resort will offer five star services and will work with local clubs to provide recreational facilities for the tourists. Some of the activities lined up include snorkeling and scuba diving, fishing, jet skiing and various forms of water sports. The plans have received a lot of support from conservationists and the local authorities because of the environmental conscious design employed, and the job opportunities the project is creating.

The strategic goal of Midland Port is to become a major stop for all cruise vessels plying the Eastern and Western deep-sea trade route as a tourist attraction, and as a water sports centre.

Bibliography

Eastaugh, Paul, and Peter Moth. Module 10: Strategy, Marketing and Media. UK: Global Academy, 2010.

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