Cruise ships

    Sydney is a favoured destination for international cruise ships.

    It is the only port in Australia to have two cruise passenger terminals – the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) at Circular Quay and the White Bay Cruise Terminal west of the Harbour Bridge at Balmain.

    The Australian cruise market grew by 294 per cent in the 10 years to 2014-15. Expenditure by the cruise shipping industry in Sydney Harbour was estimated at $1.1 billion in 2014-15 when 281 cruise ships visited – 100 at White Bay and 181 at the OPT.

    The management of the demand for cruise berths and access is a critical part of future planning for Sydney Harbour.

    Improving access for cruise ships

    We are committed to keeping Sydney open and accessible to the growing number of cruise ships wanting to visit.

    The NSW Government invested $135 million in 2015 to expand cruise ship capacity at the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT). As a result of the work:

    • More passengers can arrive and depart from cruise ships more efficiently using a terminal that has been expanded and streamlined. There is now better traffic access at the terminal to enable trucks to deliver food and beverages on and off the ships.
    • There is access for the next generation of cruise ships following installation of a new mooring bollard at the southern end of the OPT. The mega-liner Ovation of the Seas, will be the first to use this bollard as it docks in Sydney this December.
    • Two cruise ships can now dock simultaneously at the OPT. This double berthing option is already being taken up by a number of ships next cruise season.

    Improving cruise industry cost efficiency

    In November 2016, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) reported to the NSW Government on its review of maximum fees and site occupation charges applicable to cruise ships in Sydney Harbour levied by the Port Authority of New South Wales.

    The purpose of the review was to investigate the maximum fee for use of cruise infrastructure including the proposed increase in site occupation charges from $30 per passenger to $35 per passenger from 1 July 2016. The NSW Premier asked IPART to recommend an appropriate charging structure and consider the need to maintain the commercial viability of the State’s investment in cruise infrastructure.

    View the IPART review and the NSW Government’s response to IPART’s seven recommendations.