Brisbane could soon become home to a new mega-cruise ship terminal near the mouth of the Brisbane River, after a series of stakeholders reached an in-principle agreement with Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd.
If the plans are given the go-ahead, the 2020 cruising season in Brisbane could see a $100 million cruise ship facility that is large enough to hold even the biggest and boldest of the ‘queens of the ocean’. The news is welcomed by the QLD cruising industry; the second largest industry in the country behind NSW.
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt said the agreement with the State Government, Brisbane City Council and Queensland Urban Utilities meant the project had taken a significant step forward in the government’s Market-Led Proposal assessment process.
“This milestone shows this government, through our Market-Led Proposals initiatives, is in the business of creating jobs and working with the private sector to facilitate good ideas,” Mr Pitt said.
Planning, constructing and operating a terminal for mega-cruise ships would require large scale preparation to ensure that adequate access and facilities surrounding the terminal site were planned for and implemented successfully.
The Port of Brisbane has requested that government make available a vacant parcel of land adjacent to existing port facilities to build the new terminal. The site would leverage the Port’s existing facilities and systems and provide ready access to deep water frontage and an existing swing basin that requires minimal dredging.
Mr Pitt has also expressed his commitment to ensuring better roadway access to the proposed site of the terminal. “The Port of Brisbane has had to work with key stakeholders to develop solutions that address key issues such as road access to the site,” he said.
“In-principle agreement with these stakeholders means that realistic solutions have been developed and the way is now clear to undertake the detailed business case to finalise the Port’s proposal to deliver a facility that will be a welcome addition to Brisbane’s tourism infrastructure.”
Though promising, the announcements of these ‘talks’ have not brought forth any confirmation of the project, but it is a start according to Port of Brisbane CEO Roy Cummins. Mr Cummins said that while the agreement did not mean a final investment decision has been made, reaching these in-principle agreements was a key requirement to demonstrate the project’s viability.
“As a result, this now means we can progress engineering and design works. This work will inform the final business case that will be presented to Government for its consideration,” he said.
When discussing the demand for the project, Mr Pitt indicated that data shows 329 cruise ships visited Queensland during 2015-2016. The demand for this project already exists, and with many cruise ships expected to grow past 270 meters, above the current capacity of the Brisbane passenger terminal, in the coming decades. Large vessel cruise companies such as Cunard, have previously had less than ideal experiences for passengers who have found themselves docking in commercial ports due to length and height barriers in and around the current terminal.
The Ovation of the Seas, the world's fourth largest ship, would be one of the many ships to benefit from a larger terminal in Brisbane
Mr Pitt said that it becomes paramount that the state creates pathways for the tourism industry in Queensland to berth such vessels. “The cruise sector already supports more than 2700 jobs in Queensland and we want to see this number grow because the cruise industry supports local businesses and sustains our regional communities,” he said.
“The proposed new terminal will be able to accommodate the mega-ships now becoming widespread in the cruise industry.”
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has voiced the support of the Brisbane City Council. The council supported plans for a world-class cruise ship terminal at Luggage Point and made an in-principal commitment of $5 million for half of the costs of preliminary works to upgrade the local road network leading to the new terminal.
The proposal to construct the facility was submitted by the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd under the government’s Market-Led Proposal framework. If approved, the project is estimated to support on average over 300 jobs per annum during construction and will be completed during the 2019-20 cruise season.
Images courtesy Port of Brisbane.