New Brisbane International Cruise Terminal to open in mid-2020

New Brisbane International Cruise Terminal to open in mid-2020
Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to homeport at Brisbane’s new terminal in 2020 (Image: Carnival Cruise Line)

Australia’s Port of Brisbane has confirmed that its new international cruise terminal will be open for business by mid-2020 after reaching a new commercial agreement with cruise operator Carnival Australia.

Both companies amended their initial agreement after considering the commercial implications of two anti-completion conditions that were set by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) when it approved a plan for Carnival Australia to pay a fixed annual amount to the port for 15 years in return for first choice of 100 berthing days at the terminal each year. The first condition was that although Carnival Australia has preferential berthing rights for four days each week, it cannot book more than two of the three most profitable ‘weekend’ days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Second, Carnival cannot be given first right of refusal for berthing days if the port ever builds a second cruise terminal.

The port and Carnival Australia have now agreed a way forward in the best interests of the cruise industry, Queensland tourism and the state’s economy.

“The decision means Port of Brisbane will now get on with the job of building the terminal, which is a key plank of Queensland’s tourism growth story,” said Roy Cummins, CEO of Port of Brisbane. “The agreement with Carnival Australia gives us commercial certainty to construct the BICT, and we thank the company for its ongoing support. This is also good news for the cruise industry as a whole, which will benefit from access to a world-class terminal facility. Cementing this partnership today means we can avoid delays and maintain our construction timeline which – weather permitting – targets completion in second quarter 2020.”

To be located at Luggage Point on the north side of Brisbane River, the new two-level terminal building will be around 9,300 square metres and will be connected to a 200-metre-long wharf with a 450-metre berth. Two air bridges will enable passengers to embark and disembark their ships safely. There will also be open spaces for the public and parking for cars and buses.

Forecasts suggest that the project will support an average of 245 jobs annually over the two-year construction period, while the terminal will add 49 operational jobs on average each year over the next 20 years. The terminal will also generate at least AUS$3.7 billion in economic value over 15 years by opening up Brisbane to more and larger ships. This is in addition to the more than $1 billion that cruising already contributes to the Queensland economy through fees and charges, purchase of fresh produce and passenger spend.

“Brisbane can take its place on the world cruising map for some of the globe’s most iconic cruise lines with ships too large to use existing facilities at Portside,” said Sture Myrmell, president of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia. “The terminal will be a major piece of national infrastructure and the single most important investment in cruise tourism in Queensland in 12 years. This project creates the opportunity for Queensland and its many regional ports to become the nation’s powerhouse for the cruise industry’s continued growth at a time when industry figures show infrastructure constraints around Australia are slowing momentum.”

Carnival has also revealed that Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to homeport at Brisbane’s new terminal in 2020. The vessel will sail year-round itineraries from Brisbane to Vanuatu and New Caledonia, as well as shorter cruises to popular destinations in North Queensland.

“Queenslanders have embraced Carnival’s free-spirited, family-friendly fun since our arrival in 2012,” said Jennifer Vandekreeke, vice president for Carnival Cruise Line Australia. “Since then, we have welcomed nearly 75,000 Queenslanders on Carnival cruises from Sydney and Melbourne. We’re delighted to announce that with the new cruise terminal we’ll be able to offer Queenslanders the opportunity to sail on Carnival right from their doorstep.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Thursday, June 7, 2018