After finally overcoming a series of construction delays, the Pac On Ferry Terminal in Macau is set to open from Thursday morning offering eight berths that will be capable of transporting thousands of tourists every day from mainland China and Hong Kong to northern Taipa.

The $486.1 million project was originally due to begin operations in 2009 with 18 berths able to handle a maximum of 400,000 daily passengers but was repeatedly delayed due to problems with its giant helipad, which had to be completely rebuilt, along with constant changes to the design of its terminal.

According to a statement from the former Portuguese enclave’s Marine And Water Bureau, the Pac On Ferry Terminal is to begin operations later this week with eight berths for commercial ferry services before another eight come into service “at a later stage” while a trio of “multi-functional” berths are also set to be made available in the future.

The opening will come as good news to casinos located in the Taipa and adjoining Cotai Strip neighborhoods, which include the Altira Macau and the Grandview Casino Hotel as well as the nearby Studio City Macau and The Parisian Macao, as visitors will be able to disembark much closer to their doors instead of having to travel 20 minutes on shuttle buses and taxis from the Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal on the more distant Macau peninsula.

The Marine And Water Bureau further declared that the temporary Taipa ferry terminal, which has been operating next door to the construction site since 2007, is to be demolished once the Pac On Ferry Terminal is up and running while passengers will be able to travel with a number of operators including TurboJet, Cotai Water Jet and Yuet Tung Shipping although no helicopter traffic is to be permitted during the “initial stages” of the project.

“There are 110 sailings from the [temporary] Taipa terminal per day and about seven million tourists use that terminal every year so once the new one is open the old one may likely be demolished,” read an August statement from Chou Chi Tak, Acting Director for the Marine And Water Bureau. “We hope to divert some tourists from the Macau peninsula to Taipa.”

When fully operational, the Pac On Ferry Terminal, which is the size of 25 standard football pitches, is to offer 88 immigration counters and five helicopter landing pads along with a 42-desk departure hall. The seven-story structure will additionally house government offices and commercial properties on its ground floor while two floors are to be set aside for waiting and check-in areas.

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