Shanghai's newly opened international cruise ship terminal, built at a cost of US$260 million, will not be able to receive the world's largest vessels because of a nearby bridge. The complex, which took more than four years to build, aims to give the city a bigger share of the cruise ship business in Asia and help rejuvenate the North Bund area. But ships taller than 50 metres above the waterline would not be able to pass under the Yangpu Bridge, which spans the Huangpu River north of the terminal, an official confirmed. The Huangpu flows north to the Yangtze River Delta and then into the Pacific Ocean. Zhou Weiming, the terminal's operations director, said larger cruise ships must dock at Waigaoqiao port north of the terminal. 'This will more or less affect Shanghai's cruise industry, as larger cruise ships usually have ... better facilities,' he said. 'But since some shipping companies know about this situation in Shanghai, they often change to smaller ships.' As companies build larger ships, the city will miss out. 'That's what no consultation gets you,' Paul French, publishing and marketing director of Access Asia, said in a weekly newsletter. 'The terminal will be home to a plethora of luxury goods shops, and several hotels have sprung up nearby - if only there was no Yangpu Bridge.' The bridge was completed in 1993. The terminal comprises several buildings covering 400,000 square metres, local media reported. The 850-metre-long riverfront section can handle up to three ships at a time. Only ships of 70,000 to 80,000 tonnes can dock, but Shanghai estimates the facility will handle 1 million passengers a year. Access Asia estimated there were 276 cruise ships operating globally, with nearly 100 in excess of 87,000 tonnes. A Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship was forced to dock at Waigaoqiao in April because it exceeded the 50-metre clearance by two metres, a company official said. Larger ships also have difficulties turning around because of depth and width restrictions in the channel. 'There's nothing we can do but bring in smaller ships in the future,' said Lu Shuwen , the firm's China manager. 'We will have a reduction of several hundred guests on a smaller ship compared with a larger one.' With Shanghai preparing for the 2010 World Expo, the new terminal opened on August 5 with the arrival of the Italian cruise ship Costa Allegra. Construction of the terminal, which began in 2004, and the North Bund redevelopment is closely identified with Chen Liangyu , the former Shanghai Communist Party secretary sacked for corruption and sentenced to 18 years in jail for misallocating pension funds.