A £7million revamp of the Port of Ramsgate to attract business with a new quay is being considered by Thanet District Council.
The authority is exploring a range of options to develop the port to bring in new customers.
A key feature of the plan is a new "alongside" quay that would allow more cruise ships and smaller commercial operators access to the port.
A multi-million pound investment is planned for the Port of Ramsgate
The council said if it goes ahead with the project, it will borrow the £7m to carry out the development and recoup it through berthing fees.
"This wouldn't be competing with the same market as Dover, which has facilities for much larger vessels..." - Thanet District Council
In addition to a new quay, the council's masterplan would also include a hoist capable of lifting boats out of the water for repairs and maintenance.
The East Pier would be extended to create a new breakwater to limit the impact of waves on the harbour.
In a cautiously-worded statement, the council said: "An alongside quay would help us diversify our offering, not only to allow smaller cruise ships to berth but crucially different types of cargo.
"This wouldn't be competing with the same market as Dover, which has facilities for much larger vessels."
It added the £7m was a "cautious overestimation" of the funds needed.
"The project is included in the budget to ensure sufficient borrowing approvals exist for the scheme, however the business case is far from approved and would certainly not go ahead without further consultation and formal approval."
A TransEuropa ferry berthed in the Port of Ramsgate
However, not everyone is impressed by the idea. Thanet Green councillor Ian Driver said:
"With a major expansion in freight, cruise and ferry capacity at Dover and competition from the London Gateway mega-cargo port, I can't see this development ever being able to attract enough customers to pay for itself.
"Instead, the taxpayers of Thanet will be left picking up the tab of £1.5million per year for the next decade to cover the borrowing costs."