ACCC gives draft support to Brisbane port

The ACCC last month gave a preliminary green light to a proposal issued by the Port of Brisbane and Carnival Cruise Line that would see a new $158 million cruise terminal constructed in Brisbane.

A plan was submitted by both parties for ACCC approval back in October last year, with the bid outlining a commitment from Carnival to adhere to a “take or pay” obligation, meaning the cruise line would need to pay a fixed yearly amount to the port over the term of a 15-year agreement in exchange for preferential berthing rights.

The ACCC believes the project represents a positive economic opportunity for Brisbane.

“A new dedicated cruise terminal in Brisbane, capable of berthing the increasingly popular ‘mega’ cruise ships, would be a real public benefit to the community as this is infrastructure that is currently lacking in Brisbane,” said ACCC commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“Of course, the ACCC recognises that commercially, having a foundation customer helps to underwrite the projected $158 million investment for the Port of Brisbane to build the new terminal,” he added.

Despite the positive returns, the ACCC has also expressed concerns over the proposal.

“Carnival is proposed to have preferential access…this may limit or prevent competition from other cruise liners wishing to dock at the terminal in Brisbane during the peak summer cruising season,” Featherston said.

The ACCC also conveyed trepidation over the prospect of Carnival being granted the right of first refusal over a possible future second berth at the terminal.

“We are concerned this will block other cruise operators from being able to offer alternate cruise options to consumers in Brisbane,” Featherston added.

A final determination on the plan will be handed down by the ACCC this month.

 

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