The Balearic ports run by the Port Authority (Palma, Alcudia, Mahon, Ibiza and Sa Savina) have beaten records for ferry and cruise passengers in the first seven months of the year. Francesc Triay, chairman of the Port Authority, said that figures were up by 28 and 15 per cent respectively over the same period last year. He was speaking during an official visit by Balearic leader Francesc Antich to the work in progress at the Estación Marítimo in Palma's port. Just over 495'000 passengers used the port of Palma in the first seven months of the year, a 21 per cent increase over the same period last year. Figures for July alone were 113'155 passengers. The number of cruise passengers in Palma was up by 19 per cent to 313'000. Triay attributed the results to the heavy investment by shipping companies in fast, comfortable and modern ships, and open competition in the sea transport sector. This increase in traffic, Triay said, means that the port installations have to be expanded, with the construction of a new passenger terminal at the commercial docks, which will start in 2003 and will cost 30 million euros. These installations will have a new, enlarged ferry terminal, “equal in services and quality to Palma airport.” Its facilities will include bridges for pedestrians to provide greater safety. The work visited yesterday includes widening the pedestrian footbridge from three to four metres at the Pelaires dock. Another of the projects includes building a new footbridge linking the cruise ship and ferry terminals (numbers 2 and 4). Antich praised the efforts of the Port Authority to provide a better service at the ports.

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