Four months after signing a memorandum of understanding with Royal Caribbean Cruises, the Port of Galveston has not yet reached a final agreement to build a $100 million cruise terminal at Pier 10 in Galveston.

While port officials initially hoped the agreement, first announced in December, would be completed and signed by January, there have been delays, Port Director Rodger Rees said.

One reason for delays are changes made to Royal Caribbean’s leadership in recent months. But the deal is still happening, Rees said.

“We thought this was going to happen a little bit earlier,” Rees said. “They had some internal changes.”

While the parties haven’t signed the final paperwork, work toward the agreement has been made, Rees said. Royal Caribbean sent engineers to dive in the water and analyze the infrastructure at Pier 10.

The engineers found the slip was in better condition than originally thought, Rees said. That’s good news because the port had agreed to pay for repairs to pier, if they exceeded $8 million, Rees said.

“The consensus was that they were surprised at how good a shape it was in,” Rees said. “It’s a positive for us.”

The port and Royal Caribbean announced the agreement to bring a third cruise terminal to the island in December. The terminal would be used almost exclusively used by Royal Caribbean, which plans to bring its new, larger Oasis-class ships to Galveston once it’s completed.

Ted O’Rourke, the chairman of the Wharves Board of Trustees, said he wasn’t worried about the delay in reaching a final agreement.

“It’s very encouraging that we’re getting closer and closer,” he said. “I think it’s going to be very good for the community.

The agreement also proposes that Royal Caribbean sign a 20-year lease, with extension options, to remain in Galveston long term after the terminal is completed.

The new terminal is expected to open by 2021.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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