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New South Wales Premier Mike Baird announced recently a $12.7 million plan to build a new multi-purpose cruise ship terminal in Newcastle Harbor. The port is being built with hopes it will enable a significant expansion of the cruise industry in the Hunter region, which has become a huge contributor to regional economies.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the new 3,000 square meter cruise ship terminal will be similar in scale to the White Bay Terminal in Sydney. It’s expected the terminal will be able to accommodate world-class cruise ships up to 320 meters long.
Funding for the construction comes from the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund (HIIF) via Restart NSW. To receive funds, projects were nominated through an expression of interest process that was conducted by the Hunter Development Corporation on behalf of the HIIF. This is in addition to $800,000 previously provided to upgrade mooring bollards for the facility at the Channel Berth near Dyke Point.
The new terminal aims at attracting both new cruise ships to visit during its annual cruise season and offering a home port for a variety of vessels, which would allow passengers to start and end their journeys in Newcastle for the first time.
The project secures the future of cruise shipping in Newcastle, as well as provides the city and region an opportunity to compete for the growing east coast tourism trade.
Cruise lines across the globe have already begun their plans to visit the new port upon completion. Sture Myrmell, president of P&O Cruises (responsible for brands such as Princess, Holland America, Cunard and more) spoke in Newcastle earlier this week about P&O is excited for this new venture. Earlier this year, Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth made its maiden visit to Newcastle.
The new port is within easy access to the Hunter region’s growing wine district, well-suited for cruises to stop and explore during excursions, or during a pre-or-post cruise tour. P&O Cruises has purchased a large stock of Hunter region wines to use on the line’s five ship fleet, offering nearly 100,000 bottles each year with a variety of iconic labels and wine types.
Construction of the new port is expected to begin in the next year, with completion expected to be within 2018.