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NYCEDC Announces Single Operator and $38.5 Million in Capital Improvements for Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals

Photo credit: Teijo Niemelä

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has announced the selection of Ports America to operate both Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals through 2029. As part of the new agreement, Ports America has agreed to invest $38.5 million in capital improvements across both terminals, strengthening New York City’s position as one of the country’s premiere cruise ports.

As part of the agreements, Ports America will be responsible for vessel berthing and stevedoring, maintenance, parking, security, billing, and additional operations at both terminals. Ports America will also provide ancillary services such as event management and military and yacht dockings.

With the successful partnership of Council Member Corey Johnson and the entire City Council, the lease agreement with Ports America was approved this week for the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, the final approval needed for NYCEDC’s operator selection. Ports America has agreed to invest $23.5 million in capital improvements at Manhattan Cruise Terminal, which will include new capacity for larger vessels and improvements to Pier 90, among other investments.

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will be receiving $15 million in capital investments, conceived through a partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, which will include an increased capacity for larger vessels, among other improvements. Borough President Adams initiated this project with a $1.2 million capital allocation in Fiscal Year 2016, and supplemented the effort with an additional $1 million grant in Fiscal Year 2017.

The designation of a single terminal operator will lower costs and streamline operations between the two terminals, which will create new opportunities to secure long-term agreements with cruise lines. Ports America has managed and operated the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in successful partnership with the NYCEDC for two decades, generating substantial growth in cruise volumes.

“New York City’s rich maritime history must continue to inform and strengthen our current economy. Our partnership with Ports America marks continued progress in leveraging the City’s waterfront assets to create jobs, attract tourists, and drive growth in an important industry. I want to thank the elected officials in both Manhattan and Brooklyn for their leadership in securing a vibrant future for our two cruise terminals,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett.

"For more than two years, my administration has been intensely focused on the revitalization of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and the working waterfront as a whole, envisioning a future where the port's infrastructure and services are able to attract and accommodate the high level of tourism traffic that our borough is excited to welcome,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Today, as a result of a process that began by leveraging our capital budget in FY16 and FY17 to invigorate this conversation, we are one big step closer to Brooklyn becoming a top-tier player in the global cruise industry. This $15 million investment by Ports America is a game-changer for economic development in Red Hook and our entire waterfront, as well as the complementary impact it will have on businesses and cultural institutions across our borough. I am so proud to have worked with the International Longshoremen's Association and local stakeholders, as well as the leadership at NYCEDC, to make this a reality."

“The cruise industry is a major economic driver for New York City,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, “and I’m pleased that this new agreement will help us grow our position in this industry while directing more revenue to Hudson River Park. I want to thank the Economic Development Corporation for striking a competitive deal that brings additional resources to local communities.”

"I welcome Ports America to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. New capital investments mean increased cruise operations in Red Hook will create jobs and be a good neighbor. Residents will be glad to hear that the new operating agreement requires zero-emissions environmental controls. I thank the NYEDC for identifying a robust operator, and for locating our new NYC Ferry dock adjacent to the Cruise Terminal. The arrival of Ports America will help the entire Atlantic Basin maritime property live up to its potential for responsible economic development," said Council Member Menchaca.

“Ports America is energized about the future of the cruise industry in NYC under these new agreements,” said Steve Loevsky, Vice President - Cruise, Ports America. “We are also implementing strategies that will increase vessel calls and passenger volumes, while enhancing the overall guest experience, asset utilization and safety. Ports America looks forward to our continued partnership with NYCEDC and our cruise line partners to provide for world-class facilities and services at both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise terminals.”

“We’re very happy that a stevedore has been selected, and we’re looking forward to building and strengthening our relationships with Ports America and the NYCEDC at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal,” said Louis Pernice, President of Local 1814.

“As President of ILA Local 824, I am pleased with the good news of the approval. This will bring stability to the members, and the hard workers that have been serving the cruise industry in Manhattan for over 105 years,” said Ronald Misiti, President of Local 824.

NYCEDC released a request for proposals (RFP) for a new operator for both Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals in 2015.

Cruise has long been a critical industry to New York City’s economy. In 2016, over a million passengers cruised through New York City and the industry accounts for hundreds of millions of dollars in annual economic impact. New York City’s cruise industry also accounts for over 1,000 full-time jobs through the International Longshoremen’s Association, the Port Police and Guard Union, and employees in accommodation, retail, and food and beverage sectors.

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