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Record-breaking cruise season to tip $4.7 million into local businesses
Townsville is gearing up for its biggest ever cruise season with today’s visit (23 November 2023) from Silver Muse leading the way for a record 18 vessels calling at the Port of Townsville over the coming months. More than 21,000 passengers and crew will disembark in Townsville this summer, directly injecting over $4.7 million into businesses across the city and surrounding regions. Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the bumper season is the first sign of some big things to come for Townsville’s cruise industry. “It is very encouraging to see our cruise bookings grow by 50 per cent from last season to this one, exceeding the strong growth rate the industry is seeing across the entire Australian market,” said Ms Crosby. “New data shows that the cruise industry generated $5.63 billion for Australia’s economy in its first year of post-Covid revival. This is the industry’s highest ever impact, representing a 22 per cent increase from 2018-19. “Port of Townsville has worked closely with Townsville Enterprise, Townsville City Council and tourism partners to grow Townsville’s slice of the pie since the opening of Quayside Terminal in 2014. Our current Channel Upgrade project will drive growth in Townsville’s cruise visitation as we prepare to welcome Large Class cruise vessels next season, with record bookings for the next three consecutive years.” Cruise lines themselves are responsible for $1.17 billion in direct national expenditure – on operational costs such as port charges, food and beverage, fuel, administration, and included shore excursions – with passenger spending higher again at $1.49 billion on top of this. Townsville Enterprise Director Visitor Economy and Marketing Lisa Woolfe said the cruise season will be a huge win for a range of Townsville North Queensland businesses across summer. “More than 20,000 passengers and crew members will contribute in excess of $4.7 million to the local economy,” said Ms Woolfe. “Cruise passengers are a great injector into the visitor economy at this time of year and support a number of tour and experiences businesses right across the region, but also share this contribution with small businesses such as transport providers, arts and entertainment businesses, restaurants, bars, cafes and retailers.” “It’s an economic impact that the whole city will benefit from and we’re very excited to invite more of it into Townsville and the surrounding regions this cruise season.” “Cruise passengers have a high propensity to return to destinations that they enjoy, so there is an immense opportunity to showcase what our region has to offer for return visitation into the future.” Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said it was exciting to welcome the first cruise ship of the season to the city. “This will be the first of 18 cruise ships scheduled to visit Townsville during the 2023-24 cruise season,” Cr Hill said. “Passengers from across the world including countries like the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Austria, Sweden, Germany and New Zealand will be coming here to enjoy our hospitality and world-class attractions. “Council has been working closely with the Port of Townsville, Townsville Enterprise and other stakeholders to ensure our region gets more cruise ship visitation.” Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said Townsville was a fantastic place to visit so to have more people coming to the city was good for local businesses. “We want to see more people come to Townsville and experience what the capital of Northern Australia has to offer and spend money at our local businesses,” he said. “We are also investing in the Port’s Channel Upgrade project which will allow bigger cruise ships to come into Townsville which will help bring more money into the city.” Silver Muse will begin its journey in Cairns and travel the islands of the South Pacific to Auckland, carrying passengers predominantly from United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada. Townsville’s 2023-24 Cruise Season Townsville will welcome 18 cruise ships to Townsville from 23 November 2023 to 26 April 2024. Visiting cruise ships will bring 13,224 passengers and 7,823 crew to Townsville throughout the season. Passengers visiting Townsville will come predominantly from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. Two cruise ships will make their maiden calls to Townsville during the 2023/24 cruise season – Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Navigator. Economic Impact of Australia’s cruise industry The Value of Cruise Tourism economic impact assessment for Australia was prepared by AEC Group on behalf of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA). Its key findings for 2022-23 show: A total economic output of $5.63 billion nationally (up 22.1%) including direct output of $2.5 billion. Total employment of 18,225 full time equivalent positions nationally (up 9.9%), with total wages income of $1.82 billion (up 35.7%). A total of 62 Australian ports and destinations visited, welcoming a combined 1,354 ship visits. A total of 3.35 million passenger visit days (down 4.1% due to fewer ships operating in the region during the industry’s recovery phase). Direct passenger expenditure of $1.49 billion (up 10.6%) and direct crew expenditure of $52.0 million (up 48.1%). Transit ports, like Townsville, enjoyed an average international passenger spend per day on shore of $280pp. Average crew spend per day on shore $137pp (up 7.9%). The largest beneficiary of direct passenger expenditure was the hotel and accommodation sector which received $457.1 million, or 30.6% of passenger spending. Other beneficiaries included food & beverage ($300.1 million, 20.1%), shore excursions ($194.3 million, 13.0%), transport ($208.8 million, 14.0%), retail shopping ($163.1 million, 10.9%) and entertainment ($57.8 million, 3.9%). Direct cruise line expenditure of $1.17 billion (up 8.3%). Cruise line expenditure included $227 million (up 1.4%) paid to Australian ports and governments. Queensland is the country’s second-largest cruise economy, with a total economic output of $1.69 billion, or 29.9% of the national total, which supported 5,546 full time equivalent jobs. All comparisons are to 2018-19, the previous complete year of cruise operations in Australia.
Local contractor awarded $1.5m Port contract
Port of Townsville has appointed local contractor CivilPlus Constructions to complete a critical piece of work as part of the port’s $251 million Channel Upgrade project. CivilPlus Constructions will carry out a $1.5 million works package to shorten the Eastern Breakwater, making way for channel widening at the inshore end of the Port’s 14.9km shipping channels and allowing for larger vessels to access the Port from the end of 2024. The Channel Upgrade project, commenced in March 2020, is stage one of a 30-year, $1.6b Port Expansion Project. The 30-year plan will reclaim a total 158ha of port land, see the construction of six new berths and associated infrastructure and facilitate three-fold trade growth across a broad range of new and existing industries. General Manager Project Delivery, David McLoughlin said the appointment of CivilPlus was a demonstration of the Port’s commitment to utilising local skills and expertise to power its growth. “Port of Townsville is committed to buying local where we can, having spent $14.3 million with Townsville and Lucinda-based businesses and one-third of our entire expenditure with small and medium-size businesses last financial year,” said Mr McLoughlin. “CivilPlus is a Townsville-owned businesses, headed by two born and bred locals who have proven to deliver consistently high-quality results in marine projects for almost 20 years. “Their team will be tasked with the removal of 10,000m3 of material to shorten the existing breakwater by approximately 70m and allow capital dredging to continue at the entry to the port’s inner harbour,” said Mr McLoughlin. CivilPlus will also place approximately 5,000 tonne of new armour rock on the shortened breakwater. Rock has been sourced locally from quarries in Townsville and Ravenswood. CivilPlus Constructions’ Senior Project Manager Steve Olsen said the project would support up to 15 full and part-time jobs for their local workforce. “CivilPlus is excited to be part of the Port’s Channel Upgrade project. As a local Townsville company this will support 10 full-time employees from within the Townsville area, along with up to five more part-time roles,” said Mr Olsen. Shortening of the Eastern Breakwater will commence on 2 November 2023. Works will be conducted during daylight hours, Monday to Friday and are expected to take approximately 10 weeks. There will be no disruption to shipping during this time. The $251 million Channel Upgrade project is funded in partnership by the Australian and Queensland Governments and Port of Townsville Limited through the Townsville City Deal.
500-day countdown to colossal cruise boost
Townsville’s tourism industry is gearing up for a major boost with just 500 days until the city begins welcoming the Large Class of cruise liners, which will carry up to three-times as many passengers into the city as previous visiting vessels. P&O Australia will lead the charge with their first vessel, Pacific Encounter, set to arrive on 20 January 2025 closely followed by sister ship, Pacific Explorer. The visits will be first of many Large Class cruise ships docking in Townsville, as the Port increases the size of vessels able to access the port from 238m to 300m once the $251 million Channel Upgrade is complete. Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the channel widening had been pivotal in attracting larger cruise vessels to Townsville. “Pacific Encounter and Pacific Explorer will be the largest cruise ships Townsville has seen to date and will be carrying more than 4500 passengers and 2000 crew between them,” Ms Crosby said. "This milestone heralds a new era of maritime tourism for the region, promising to boost the local economy and offer visitors an unparalleled experience to explore our region right throughout the year. “Townsville is preparing for its busiest cruise season yet in 2023/2024 with 18 vessels to visit our Port – and this will increase year on year once we can facilitate Large Class cruise ships. The team attended the Australian Cruise Association Conference last week (30 August – 1 September) and the enthusiasm for Townsville among the cruise industry was palpable.” To date, eight Large Class vessels from six major cruise companies are scheduled to visit Townsville from 2025. In preparation for the arrival of larger cruise ships in just 500 days, the Port of Townsville is working with Townsville Enterprise, Townsville City Council and local tourism and retail operators to enhance the city’s offerings for a new demographic of cruisers. Townsville Enterprise Director of Visitor Economy and Marketing, Lisa Woolfe said local tour operators were refining their products to cater for the influx of families and multi-generational tourists the Large Class ships would bring. “We know our cruise guests will be Up for Unexpected and we are working closely with tour operators to ensure guests can explore the best of our region, from rainforest to reef, islands to outback,” Ms Woolfe said. “Cruise is an important and growing sector for our local tourism industry, with passengers and crew each spending an average of $200 a day in the region, across tourism experiences, retail, dining, transport services and more. “We look forward to welcoming larger cruise ships into Townsville and continuing to grow this sector.” FAST FACTS: CHANNEL UPGRADE: Port of Townsville is now more than 70 per cent of the way through its $251 million Channel Upgrade project. The shipping channel is being widened from 92m to 180m at the Port end, tapering to 120m at the seaward end. Upon completion in 2024, the Port will increase its vessel length limit from 238 metres to 300 metres, allowing for larger cruise, cargo and defence ships to enter the Port. CRUISE CAPACITY Port of Townsville is preparing to welcome cruise ships up to 300m long from 1 December 2024 for Aussie Summer The first Large Class cruise ship, P&O Australia’s Pacific Encounter, is set to arrive in 500 days on 20 January 2025. Pacific Encounter will be carrying up to 2600 passengers and 1100 crew. Eight cruise ships over 238m long, from six cruise lines are booked to visit Townsville throughout 2025 and 2026. Large Class cruise ships will bring a new demographic of cruise passengers to Townsville. Currently the Port welcomes luxury-class Small and Small-Mid cruise vessels with passengers coming predominantly for the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Australia and Switzerland. Large Class vessels will carry mostly Australian and New Zealand passengers, often travelling as multigenerational family groups.
Townsville Port puts pedal to the metal on car imports
Port of Townsville has completed construction of a new $3.6 million laydown area just in time for a record shipment of new motor vehicles this week. More than 1,700 cars will pull into port aboard three car carriers coming from manufacturers in Japan and Thailand. The number of vehicles arriving over two days is more than the Port would typically see in a full month, and places Townsville 18 per cent ahead of its motor vehicle import figures for the same time last year. Port of Townsville General Manager Customer, Safety and Operations Drew Penny said the Port was expecting motor vehicle imports to continue accelerating over the coming months. “The uplift is being driven by a shift in supply chains as car manufacturers begin to recognise the time and cost-saving benefits that can be unlocked by transhipping vehicles through Townsville,” Mr Penny said. “The Townsville Port offers excellent road connectivity, not just to our regional neighbours but many other parts of the country and this is proving a competitive advantage for us.” A record single-carrier 1,381-vehicle shipment is among this week’s trio of deliveries and is perfectly timed with the Port placing the finishing touches on a new $3.6 million laydown area just days prior to its arrival. “The new laydown will add to our existing storage areas used for motor vehicles, project cargo and renewables,” Mr Penny said. “As our Port prepares for three-fold trade growth to 2050, we are continuing to invest in new and optimised infrastructure. The timeliness of laydown completion and commissioning couldn’t be better and it is excellent to see our investments bearing results so quickly.” In 2022-2023 motor vehicle imports through the Port of Townsville grew 12 per cent on the previous financial year. While the increase had initially been due to continuing catch-up from Covid-19 lags, transhipments are now happening regularly and appear to be here for the long term.
Jobs for Townsville as trade set to triple
The Port of Townsville is embarking on a recruitment drive for a number of roles across the organisation as it prepares for accelerated trade demand from the North Queensland region. The Port’s workforce is expected to grow strongly with multidisciplinary positions sought across the business, including entry-level, professional, technical and administrative roles. View the Port's current job vacancies here The recruitment drive comes as the Port readies for three-fold trade growth by 2050 off the back of new projects in mining, manufacturing and renewables. Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said attracting talent is central to the Port’s ability to deliver on its vision for the future. “Townsville’s port is growing in every sense – we are well underway with the biggest port expansion in our near 160-year history, trade volumes crossing our berths each year are expected to triple by 2050 and demand for defence and cruise shipping capacity is rapidly increasing. “In the coming years we are focused on continuing to deliver highly competitive services for our customers, drive improvements in sustainability across all areas of the business and build major new port infrastructure that will ensure our capacity to facilitate the trade demands of the future. “It is vital that we secure the breadth and depth of talented people needed to continue our sustainable growth, while servicing North Australia’s trade demand well into the future.” Acting Premier Steven Miles said the Port of Townsville is the link between Queensland’s rich North West Minerals Province and the world. “North Queensland’s growth potential is picking up at enormous pace as new projects in rare earth, critical minerals, renewable energy and tourism come to realisation because of the strong investment by this government. “With trade volumes set to triple by 2050, we know there is confidence in the future of the Port. “We have always backed good jobs for the people of Townsville, and now there are more opportunities for those looking to kick start their career in Townsville.” Townsville Port will also welcome larger cargo, cruise ships and defence vessels from late 2024, following the completion of a channel widening project, which will allow vessels up to 300m long to access the port. The Port's $251 million Channel Upgrade project is part of a broader $1.6 billion, 30-year expansion plan for the Port of Townsville. P&O’s Pacific Encounter and Pacific Explorer are the first mega cruise liners scheduled to call at Townsville following the Channel Upgrade project. They will be the biggest cruise ships Townsville has ever seen, carrying more than 4,500 passengers and almost 2,000 crew between them. Further mega liner visits are scheduled for the 2025/26 cruise season. Further information: The Port of Townsville will advertise new positions over the coming months with all job openings advertised at https://www.townsville-port.com.au/corporate/working-with-us/