Sydney Cruise Ports
Reviews are currently underway regarding the charges for cruise ships docking into Sydney cruise ports. Cruise ships calling into the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) in Circular Quay may soon pay up to $80,375 per 24-hour visit, a draft recommendation released by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) today has advised.
The report proposes the White Bay Cruise Terminal near Balmain would operate on a maximum per passenger charge of $32.60, while lines docking at White Bay 4 would be charged $16.30 per pax.
This differs to the Sydney Cruise Port Authority’s proposal in 2016-17 of $35 per passenger at OPT and WB5 (up from the current $30 per passenger) and $17.50 per passenger at WB4 (up from $15).
IPART chairman Peter Boxall said the different pricing arrangements of each terminal “reflect our view that there are separate markets at these locations given the limitations on large ships passing under the
Sydney Harbour Bridge”.
“We consider that a per call charge would be more costreflective for the larger ships that use OPT, while a per passenger charge would assist the Port Authority to increase utilisation for smaller ships at White Bay,” Boxall added.
The report found the costs of providing site occupation at OPT does not vary substantially based on the ship size or number of passengers and the charge will allow the Port Authority to cover its costs for the terminal based on forecast demand.
It’s estimated under IPART’s proposal that 87% of larger ship visits to the OPT would pay less than or equal to the Port Authority’s proposal. IPART is seeking public comment until 30 Aug.
THE Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW has raised concerns for the long-term outlook for the cruise industry, saying in a newly released report that growth in recent years “is uncertain” to be maintained.
The whopping 108-page draft report, entitled Maximum fees and charges for cruise ships docking in Sydney cruise ports in Sydney Harbour makes a number of observations and suggestions relating to site occupation charges.
“The cruise industry contributes to local economies through employment and spending from cruise operators, passengers and crew. Our recommendations on site occupation charges have the potential to affect the growth and viability of the cruise industry & the benefits this industry provides to the NSW economy,” it said.
The document reconfirms that if growth in the sector is sustained, a new cruise terminal east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge “will be required”, with IPART NSW saying the naval facilities at the southern end of Garden Island is the most “preferred location…if appropriate arrangements can be made with the Australian Govt”.
IPART NSW said, in principle, a new unrestricted terminal should be funded by the cruise industry.
The tribunal suggested an arrangement whereby cruise operators agree to foot the bill for a minimum number of visits per season for a fixed term would be a suitable option for a new passenger terminal in Sydney. “If the cruise industry requires a new facility then it is appropriate that they bear demand-side risks,” the report said. It found that based on a list of 22 popular cruise ports in six countries where Royal Caribbean turned around Vision Class vessels, “Sydney had the highest aggregated costs”. Other suggestions raised in the study include looking at the adoption of an ‘evening slot’ for ships to berth in Sydney.
“To provide an incentive, we consider the Port Authority should negotiate discounts with cruise operators where the take up an evening slot at Sydney cruise ports leads to improved utilisation,” the study reported.
The preliminary report also determined the Port Authority “is operating and maintaining its cruise terminals in an efficient manner”. Elsewhere, the study said the Port’s discounts to the cruise industry on navigation charges are too high.
Source: Cruise Weekly AU 26Jul16