New Brisbane terminal green light

THE highly anticipated verdict from the ACCC on a deal to construct a new $158 million mega cruise ship terminal in Brisbane has been handed down, with the project receiving approval, subject to two conditions.

Under the agreement, Carnival Australia will pay a fixed annual amount to the Port of Brisbane for 15 years in return for preferential berthing rights at the new terminal.

Carnival will receive first pick of 100 days at the terminal each year, up to a maximum of four days a week.

“We recognise that the deal with Carnival helps to underwrite the projected $158 million investment for the Port of Brisbane to build the new terminal,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“Brisbane has no dedicated ‘mega’ cruise ship terminal, and the construction of this terminal is expected to increase tourism and deliver a real benefit to the community and the Queensland economy.”

The consumer watchdog’s approval is subject to two conditions which the ACCC said would “reduce the agreement’s anticompetitive effect and promote competition and choice for cruise customers”.

Under the first condition, Carnival would not be able to book more than two of the three “weekend days” (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) in any given week.

“This means one of these premium weekend days will be available to competitors so other cruise operators can compete with Carnival in Brisbane,” Featherston said.

“If no other operator books the third weekend day, Carnival will be allowed to use it,” he added.

The second condition is that if the terminal is expanded in the future to provide a second berth, Carnival cannot be given the first right of refusal for an agreement which would give it first choice of days at that berth.

“Our decision means that if a second berth is built, we should see improved competition between cruise lines,” Featherston said.