Marlborough approves docking agreement

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 9/28/22

The Marlborough Town Board unanimously approved a Priority Docking Agreement with American Cruise Lines [ACL] to dock at Milton’s southern pier. The agreement will run through 2042, however, …

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Marlborough approves docking agreement


The Marlborough Town Board unanimously approved a Priority Docking Agreement with American Cruise Lines [ACL] to dock at Milton’s southern pier. The agreement will run through 2042, however, the company has the option for two, five-year extensions.

American Cruise Lines has to book their docking reservations in January in order to access their priority status. Their ships are typically 200 feet in length and are expected to stop in Milton for about 10 hours per docking reservation.

Supervisor Scott Corcoran cited the payment schedule: “In consideration for American Cruise Lines use of the pier, they will pay the Town an annual fixed fee on or before January 31 of each agreement year. The payment secures 25 docking reservations throughout the calendar year and in the first year the company will pay $25,000 by August 31. This amount is to be paid regardless of whether they book 12 or 25 dockings.”

Corcoran said beginning in 2024, and continuing every other year for the remainder of the original term (i.e., 2026, 2028, 2030, etc.) the Fixed Annual Payment amount increases by $1,000.

“By the end of 25 years they’re basically at about $35,000 for that annual payment, but it’s still only for 25 bookings at that point, so of course it’s more than $1,000. The additional 10 bookings are always at a thousand dollars,” he said. “In addition to that, in the first term extension of five years, the first year’s payment will go back to $35,000, but we will allow them 35 bookings, so we’re going to incentivize them to re-sign and put their payment back to $1,000/per booking.” He said if the company wants a second five-year period, the annual fee is $37,000 for 37 bookings, with an additional 13 at $1,000 per, but every second year the annual payment goes up $500.

American Cruise Lines is a small-ship cruise line, headquartered in Guilford, CT. The line operates thirteen small cruise ships along the eastern and western seaboards of the United States as well as the Mississippi-Ohio and Columbia-Snake River regions. The company was incorporated in 1991, according to Wikipedia.

According to the agreement, American Cruise Lines must make their reservations with the town in January, prior to any other company. If ACL wants more than 35 docking reservations per year, they must wait until February 1 for confirmation. On or after that date the company will have no further rights to priority booking and reservations from any other cruise line will be accepted by the town on a first-come-first-served basis.

In addition to the ACL payment schedule, they will pay the town a one-time, lump sum payment of $1,000 in the first term to offset the town’s legal and maintenance costs. The company will also pay for the cost of any fresh water they use per docking. The amount will be calculated by an ACL paid meter and they will be billed quarterly for their usage. The town will have the meter read before and after each docking, and the per 1,000 gallon cost will be set each year by the Town Board at their annual reorganization meeting in January.

Corcoran said ACL will also be paying $5,000 that will go toward the bumper system and the tie-down system for the cleats on the dock. He noted that, “at the minimum if American Cruise Lines went 30 years, we’re somewhere in the $800,000 number and if they go the full term, with all the maximums, we’re in the $1.25 million if they used every single part of this contract.” He pointed out that the town has taken out a $1.2 million bond to construct the southern pier and, “American Cruise Lines is going to be a huge part of paying this off every year. So the revenue we receive from them and other cruise lines is going to go directly into the account to offset the bond payment.”

Corcoran invested many hours hammering out this agreement with American Cruise Lines.

“It was well worth it because in the end, I think we hopefully got a good agreement. I didn’t know we would ever get here, but we’re here,” he said.