Brisbane's new US$100 million cruise ship terminal located at the mouth of Brisbane River at Luggage Point has 80% of its approvals in place. In early 2017 the project will seek approval from State Cabinet.
Approvals with Brisbane City Council to upgrade roads are now in place and Maritime Safety Queensland has ruled the cruise ship's "swing basin" capacity as suitable for the first five years.
A second swing basin closer to the mouth of the river could be needed after five years, Maritime Safety Queensland simulations show.
Early environmental studies show no major problems, with minor impact to mangroves in the vicinity.
In January, Fairfax Media revealed plans to build the new terminal.
Since then formal agreements have been signed with the council to set contributions to build new roads to Luggage Point to upgrade to the skeletal road connections.
"We have reached an in-principle agreement with the council about what our (consortia's) contribution to the road network would be," a source told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.
"That will include Main Beach Road and Pipe Road and the roads leading into the cruise ship terminal at Luggage Point.
"Most of it is in the area at the end near the cruise ship terminal itself."
Fairfax Media in March reported the area was a "sandy wasteland", with wrecked cars, poorly maintained roads and abandoned housing.
Council's infrastructure committee chairman Amanda Cooper confirmed a joint funding agreement to make $10 million in road improvements would be signed.
Cr Cooper said the council supported the international cruise terminal at Luggage Point.
"Council is already working with the State Government and the Port of Brisbane and is in full support of this important project, which will be befitting of our city," Cr Cooper said.
"Under the agreement, council has proposed to contribute half ($5 million) of the $10 million required to undertake preliminary works to upgrade the local road network, with the Port of Brisbane to contribute the remaining half of costs.
"The next step in this project is for the Port of Brisbane to lodge their full proposal with the State Government and seek endorsement for the terminal project to proceed," Cr Cooper said.
"Following state Government's project approval, council and Port of Brisbane can then enter into an agreement for road upgrade works and council will undertake the works commencing late in 2017."
Maritime Safety Queensland has also given "in-principle agreement" to Brisbane's newest cruise ship terminal, the source said.
Their simulations show the swing basin can support the 120 to 150 cruise ships planned for the new cruise ship terminal.
A second swing basin near the Brisbane River mouth may be needed in "about five years" if the anticipated increase in container and tourist shipping demands continues, their modelling shows.
In principle agreements with the two cruise ship liners; Royal Carribean and Carnival are in place and "commercial agreements" are likely to be signed after detailed talks when cruise line chief executives visit Brisbane in January.
"We have 80 per cent of our approvals now done and we are on track to have them all completed by mid-February," the source said.
"And we are tracking to go early in March for State Cabinet approval to stage two of the market-led proposal."
That would mean a final state government sign-off in June 2017, with work beginning in October 2017.
Brisbane's new cruise ship terminal could be finished by the end of 2019.
The "berthing pocket" currently used by the vessel, the Charles Darwin, which has bought the sand from Moreton Bay to pack down for the second parallel runway at the Brisbane Airport, will be expanded.
The Palaszczuk Government began a process of "market-led" proposals when it came to office, allowing private sector firms to "pitch" large-scale development projects to Queensland Treasury.
Currently cruise ships berth at Hamilton.
At Luggage Point where the Brisbane River is deeper, a new cruise ship terminal can safely berth larger cruise liners that are more than 300 metres in length and carry up to 4500 passengers each.
Queensland Urban Utilities runs South East Queensland's largest water treatment plant at Luggage Point right beside the proposed location.
Engineering studies to reduce odour from the plant are now underway and the site's boundaries will be landscaped to make it blend into the location.
"We expect to have those studies finished by the end of January," the source said.
Shipping volumes at the Port of Brisbane – both cruise ships and containers ships - are steadily increasing, the source said.
"Traffic volumes for the swing basin are okay for the next five years, but beyond that we think we might need a second swing basin."
Early environmental checks have revealed few serious environmental concerns, the project source said.
"It is low environmental amenity really and we are not disturbing any mangroves on the site."
Conservation groups have not raised problems with the project.