The state government and the Port of Brisbane are in negotiations to build a new cruise terminal near the mouth of the Brisbane River that could accommodate the new breed of superliner.
The inability of Portside Hamilton, upstream from the Gateway Bridges, to accommodate larger vessels has seen ships, such as Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, dock at container yards at Fisherman Islands.
The $750 million Hamilton Portside cruise ship terminal opened in August 2006, but two years later the need for a larger capacity facility was already being voiced.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said plans were already underway at a business lunch this week.
When discussing the impact of Echo Entertainment’s Queens Wharf development on the state’s economy, Dr Lynham said transport facilities, such as Brisbane Airport’s parallel runway and a new cruise terminal, were needed to maximise Brisbane’s tourism dollar.
“The second runway is on track and I’m in negotiations as well – initial negotiations, I will say – on a cruise ship terminal down near the mouth of the Brisbane River to take those big cruise ships,” he said.
“So for us, for tourism in Brisbane and in south-east Queensland it’s just go, go, go, all leading towards when this resort opens.”
A spokeswoman for Dr Lynham later sought to downplay the significance of the comments, but confirmed “early discussions about the concept of a cruise ship terminal in Brisbane” had been held.
“It’s all at a very preliminary stage,” she said.
Dr Lynham’s office directed Fairfax Media to the Port of Brisbane for more information.
That line of inquiry did not shed any more light on the negotiations, other than to confirm they had started.
“The Port of Brisbane is in discussions with the state government about a proposed cruise terminal,” a spokesman said.
“Due to the terms of that process, we are not in a position to make further comment at this time.”
The land identified for the new cruise terminal was at Luggage Point, on the north bank of the river, downstream from the Gateway Bridges, at the entrance to Moreton Bay.
Queensland Investment Corporation chief economist Matthew Peter said it was a “potentially important development” in Brisbane.
“The river mouth of Brisbane is ideally suited for large ships, as I understand it, so there’s potential there for growing a new industry,” he said.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said there was a pressing need for a large-capacity cruise ship terminal in Brisbane.
Hamilton Portside could accommodate ships up to 270 metres long, while the Queen Mary 2 was 345 metres.
The world’s longest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, were both 362 metres long.
“(Hamilton Portside) was simply the best that could be done at the time when it was a question of lining up the money, lining up the facilities and it was a tough gig to get going,” Mr Gschwind said.
“But it will preclude us from taking full advantage of the opportunities that are coming down the path – bigger ships, more ships and the certainty of being able to berth.
“Portside is almost at capacity now and we know tourism is on the up.”
Mr Gschwind said while Portside Hamilton served a purpose, it simply was not enough.
“I don’t think it was a mistake (to build the cruise ship terminal at Hamilton) – it was what was on offer, a private investor who was willing to stump up the money,” he said.
“It’s a lovely facility that has a whole suburb developing around it, so I certainly wouldn’t say it was a mistake.
“But it won’t be sufficient to take advantage of new opportunities that are now presenting themselves.”
Atfield, C. (2015). Port of Brisbane plans new Luggage Point cruise ship terminal. Brisbane Times. [online] Available at: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/port-of-brisbane-plans-new-luggage-point-cruise-ship-terminal-20151009-gk5q8u.html [Accessed 17 Dec. 2015].