Ports Minister Duncan Gray reported to the ABC yesterday that the 43 per cent increase in numbers this year makes cruising “the state’s biggest success story”.
Sydney welcomes 33 ships in February alone, with several requiring berthing off shore at Athol Buoy near Bradley’s Head. Capacity will continue to be an issue in 2013 when 264 ships sail into Sydney.
Negotiations are still underway with the navy who has been asked to divert several of their ships to White Bay in order to make way for larger vessels that don’t fit under the Harbour Bridge.
The report was delivered to the minister in December, with a result expected early this year but
Carnival Australia CEO, Ann Sherry, shared her optimism about the option with media at the company’s Partnership Summit last December.
“I’m still optimistic that will come to pass,” Ms Sherry said.
“In Sydney harbour this year there will be nine ships at anchor, so I think that will reinforce the political need to resolve the issue of the second berth east of the Harbour Bridge.”
Facilitation of the Garden Island option will be discussed once the report is passed with the most desired option for Carnival Australia being Sydney Ports acting as a booking agent for the harbour.
However, whilst Garden Island is the preferred option for Carnival Australia, Royal Caribbean managing director Gavin Smith prefers Botany Bay for their ships, suggesting it as the most feasible option.
“Whilst we’re a vacation company most of the time, for one day a week we’re a shipping company,” Mr Smith said to e-Travel Blackboard in December 2011 before expressing his concern regarding the traffic and congestion issue at Garden Island.
“Passengers will be processed at Barangaroo and ferried across to Garden Island to board.”
Ms Sherry has made it clear that this is not a view shared by Carnival Australia however.
“It’s a fallback if Garden Island doesn’t happen. Nobody is actually advocating that Botany Bay is where you put a cruise terminal.”
“The privatization of Sydney Ports takes it out of contention at the moment.”
Meanwhile the White Bay construction moves forward at a snail’s pace with two separate consultation processes planned by Leichardt Council and the Sydney Ports Authority.
Three public meetings are scheduled for the coming month with the first commencing on 7 February.
Where do you think the most feasible option is for a cruise terminal in Sydney?