The Port of Brisbane has received approval to begin investigations for a new cruise terminal. The Market-Led Proposal which the port company has presented to the Queensland government is only in its beginning stages, but we stand in hope - along with the Queensland cruising community - that it will come to fruition.
Big ships currently without a home in Brisbane
Those who have cruised out of Brisbane on a big cruise ship will know that they currently aren't well accommodated in the Queensland capital. Any vessels longer than 270 metres, which includes Aussie favourites such as the Carnival Spirit and the Explorer of the Seas, cannot dock at the primary Portside cruise terminal, and are instead relegated to the industrial port on Fisherman's Island which is not only quite a way from the city but also a very makeshift facility. Checking in there takes place under tents and in haphazardly-put together rooms, making cruise passengers feel very much like imposters in a world of cement, grain, cars and other freight.
With the current trend for mega ships trickling down into the vessels being deployed Down Under, Brisbane's port facilities are well on their way to becoming underused. Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd Chief Executive Officer, Roy Cummins, cast a few predictions in support of their plans to build a new terminal.
"Cruise ships are getting longer and currently there is no dedicated facility in Brisbane to accommodate 'mega ships' (vessels longer than 270 metres). By 2020, mega ships will represent approximately 60% of Brisbane's vessel calls and without a new facility Brisbane, and Queensland, may miss out on future visits."
New terminal for mega vessels
The proposal put forward to the Queensland government is very much in its early days, having just passed its first hurdle, but it contains great news for those departing on cruises from Brisbane, whether last minute or planned in advance - or calling in mid-cruise.
A $100 million terminal and dock are outlined in the plans, to be built at Luggage Point near the mouth of the Brisbane River. It would have the capacity to welcome mega ships, and contribute greatly to the cruise and tourism industries in Queensland; Port of Brisbane estimates that it could triple the cruise industry over the next 20 years, create thousands of jobs and attract huge numbers of visitors. Carnival Australia and Royal Caribbean have both thrown their support behind the plans, and it's no surprise - their big vessels will certainly make use of the facility, with some of their fleets currently docking at the industrial port on Fisherman's Island when they call in to Brisbane.
Mr Cummins commented, "A dedicated facility would support the industry's planned expansion and enable Brisbane to become a base port for international and domestic cruises and a major cruise destination."
While still a fair way from the city, the new cruise terminal location is extremely handy to the airport, perfectly located for those who are flying in to sail away.