(8.30 a.m. AEST) – Approval for the construction of two temporary mooring points known as dolphins will ensure Auckland is able to cater to all types of cruise ships, including megaships such as Ovation of the Seas.
Queens Wharf is currently unable to accommodate cruise ships longer than 294 metres. Ships between 295 metres and 330 metres can berth at the nearby Princes Wharf, but this is dependent on wind conditions and does not involve dedicated terminal or border processing facilities.
Cruise ships larger than 330 metres are currently unable to berth in Auckland. Those that do visit must anchor in Waitematā harbour and transfer passengers and crew to shore aboard tender boats.
The international cruise industry has welcomed the decision to improve Auckland’s Queens Wharf. The new berthing facilities will provide much needed certainty for New Zealand’s cruise sector, which is worth NZ$491 million a year to the national economy.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said the decision was a step forward not just for Auckland, but for destinations around New Zealand.
“As the international gateway to New Zealand, Auckland’s current berthing restrictions are hampering cruise operations and threatening to limit economic growth both locally and in other regions,” Mr Katz said. “The decision to increase the capacity of Queens Wharf will mean larger ships can safely berth in Auckland and make onward visits to ports all over the country, bringing enormous economic benefits.”
“Auckland Council and its development arm Panuku have wisely recognised that the current situation is unsustainable and Auckland has been at risk of losing its place in international cruise itineraries, particularly as new larger ships join the world fleet,” Mr Katz said.
“The solution planned for Queens Wharf is a relatively common technique used in ports around the world and provides for an increase in capacity without having to extend the pier. It will allow Auckland to join other cities internationally in welcoming all types of cruise ships and ensures New Zealand’s cruise tourism sector continues to thrive while long-term facilities are developed.”