The Australian port of Brisbane has received first stage approval from the Queensland state government to build a AUD100 million (USD71.5 million) mega-ship cruise facility at Luggage Point, at the mouth of the Brisbane River.
The facility is estimated to potentially triple the size of Brisbane’s cruise industry over the next 20 years, growing to support 3,750 jobs, bringing over 766,000 international and domestic cruise visitors annually to the city and state, and contributing about AUD1 billion annually to Queensland’s economy.
Port chief executive officer Roy Cummins commented, “Cruise ships are getting longer and currently there is no dedicated facility in Brisbane to accommodate mega-ships – vessels longer than 270 m. By 2020, mega-ships will represent about 60% of Brisbane’s vessel calls and without a new facility, Brisbane, and Queensland, may miss out on future visits.
“The proposed facility has the full support of Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean International, which together represent the majority of the Australian cruise industry,” he continued. “Port of Brisbane will work collaboratively with government, all site neighbours, and the cruise operators to deliver a modern, efficient and attractive cruise facility that will also act as a gateway to southeast Queensland.”
Speaking to IHS Fairplay, a port spokeswoman said, “We are still at the stage of preparing an industry briefing and we will be releasing more information about the project soon.”
The Luggage Point location is seen as the only viable site in Brisbane to accommodate mega-ships as it has access to a swing basin for vessels greater than 270 m. It is also separated from the port’s cargo quays on Fisherman Islands, has close proximity to nearby airports, is free from urban encroachment, and has room to expand in the future if needed.
Further, it is also free of the air draught restrictions associated with the two Sir Leo Hielscher road bridges that cross the Brisbane River, has the deepwater frontage that mega cruise ships need, and will minimise dredging costs.
Brisbane is better placed than most ports in the latter respect, however, in having its own dredging fleet – including the flagship 2,900 m3 trailing suction hopper dredger Brisbane and the clam bucket dredger Ken Harvey – which removes about 1 million m3 annually of clays and silts from the port's berths and shipping channels.
Describing the project as a “market-led proposal,” Cummins pointed out that the port had the financial and technical capability to deliver it and was the logical developer.
“During this next stage of the process, we will complete the detailed design and all required environmental and technical investigations, with the final proposal subject to government approval and approval from key stakeholders.
“The cruise industry wants to expand in Brisbane, and has the future demand to support it,” he concluded. “Cruise has been one of the standout performers of Australia’s tourism industry over recent years, and a dedicated facility would support the industry’s planned expansion and enable Brisbane to become both a base port for international and domestic cruises and a major cruise destination.”