2017 will be an exciting year for the region’s tourism industry, as plans for the Port of Newcastle cruise terminal take shape and the community welcomes familiar cruise ships back to Newcastle.
The first cruise ship of the year, the Silver Whisper, is due to arrive from New Zealand at noon on Saturday, 4 February 2017. The 190 metre long vessel which carries 382 passengers is making its fourth visit to Newcastle since its maiden call in 2008. The ship is part of the luxury cruise line Silversea.
Port of Newcastle CEO, Geoff Crowe, said this is an exciting time for the port and the Hunter region’s tourism industry.
“Over the next 18 months we will welcome 18 cruise ships, install new mooring bollards to host bigger ships, and build a cruise terminal,” Geoff said.
“We are thrilled to welcome six return visit cruise ships this year, while we move ahead with infrastructure upgrades that will position the port for future opportunities for the Hunter region.
“The cruise terminal and mooring bollards upgrade are a key part of Newcastle’s revitalisation and will contribute around $26.7 million to the local economy and an additional 76 jobs* through construction and flow on effects.”
The cruise terminal upgrade project received $12.7 million in funding through the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund.
Planning for the cruise terminal is well advanced and will progress to the design phase by mid-year. Construction is due to be completed by the end of 2018.
The project includes wharf in-fill enhancements to support home porting operations, such as stevedoring and ship provisioning, and a car park.
The installation of new mooring bollards also received an additional $400,000 in funding from the NSW Government and $400,000 from Australian Government and is expected to be complete by mid-2017, with work to be scheduled around cruise ship visits.
Installation of the new bollards will allow the port to host larger cruise ships, carrying up to 3,500 passengers. Combined with the new cruise terminal, the improvement will make Port of Newcastle a more attractive option for cruise line operators.
Hunter tourism advocate, Will Creedon, welcomed the commencement of work.
“The port and the region have been advocating for a cruise terminal for many years. It will be great to see construction work commence, without interrupting repeat cruise ship visits,” said Will.
“This work will set the scene for future growth by positioning Newcastle as an international cruise destination. In time, this will have a flow on benefit to Newcastle Airport, hotels and businesses from the vineyards to Port Stephens and the Central Coast.”
*Hunter Research Foundation
IMAGE | Port of Newcastle will welcome 18 ships over the next 18 months, with the first cruise ship for 2017 arriving on Saturday, 4 February 2017.
Port of Newcastle is a major Australian trade gateway handling 4,600 ship movements and 166 million tonnes of cargo each year. Its annual trade worth more than $29 billion to the New South Wales economy, enabling businesses across the state to successfully compete in international markets.
With a deepwater shipping channel operating at 50% of its capacity, significant port land available and enviable access to national rail and road infrastructure, Port of Newcastle is positioned to further underpin the prosperity of the Hunter, NSW and Australia.
As custodians of the region’s critical asset, Port of Newcastle is diversifying its trade as it strives to create a safe, sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible Port that realises its potential.