Global Ports Holding is planning to invest $350m (€339m) of private capital to upgrade and expand the San Juan Cruise Port in a 30-year public-private partnership with the government of Puerto Rico.

The largest independent cruise port operator said it has signed the concession agreement with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority for San Juan Cruise Port, the largest and busiest cruise port in the Caribbean.

Global Ports, which will pay an upfront concession fee of $75m, said it initially intends to invest $100m for repairs and upgrades. A second investment phase involves investing $250m to help expand the capacity of the cruise port by building a completely new cruise pier and homeport terminal, the port operator said.

Once completed, San Juan Cruise Port will become the third-largest cruise port in Global Ports’ global network.

Global Ports said it expects the long-term project financing to be funded by way of debt finance from US debt capital markets in the form of non-recourse project activity bonds and/or from US institutional investors.

Mehmet Kutman, chairman and CEO of Global Ports Holding, said: “I am delighted that the government of Puerto Rico has selected GPH for this public-private partnership to improve and expand San Juan Cruise Port.

”The addition of this fantastic location to our cruise port network marks a further important step in our growth strategy and will grow cruise passenger volumes across our network to over 16m passengers per annum.”

Kutman said work to transform the port will see hundreds of millions of US dollars invested into San Juan Cruise Port, all financed by private capital.

”Our plans include building a new cruise pier, a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and significant enhancements to the public infrastructure.”

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