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Newcastle NSW is a major seaport and New South Wales' second most populated metro area (following Sydney) with a population of around 310,000 and total area of approx 262 km2 (101 mi2). The city's population is around 165,000.
The cruise port is located at the mouth of Hunter River, approx 160 km (100 mi) north-northeast of the capital city Sydney. Port Newcastle is currently the world's largest coal exporting cargo port serving Australia's Hunter Region with its large coal deposits. Newcastle Airport is approx 27 km (17 mi) north of downtown by road. The airport serves regularly-scheduled domestic flights (linking to Sydney NSW, Brisbane Queensland, Melbourne Victoria, Gold Coast Queensland, Ballina NSW, Dubbo NSW, Canberra) and seasonal flights to New Zealand (Auckland). The list of low-budget airlines includes FlyPelican, Jetstar Airways, QantasLink, Virgin Australia, Regional Express. Newcastle Heliport is in Newcastle Harbour's lower section.
First named Coal River, Newcastle was officially established in 1804. The town's main industries were coal mining and timbering, while its port served mainly the coal shipping to Sydney. The town was named after Newcastle upon Tyne - England's largest coal port. In the 19th-20th-centuries, town's economy was dominated by coal mining (1840s-1960s), copper smelting, soap production (at Southern Hemisphere's largest soap factory), steelworks (1915-99), export shipping (coal and iron ore), education (1965-founded Newcastle University), health services and tourism (arts, music, festivals, sports).
- Newcastle Art Gallery shelters one of Australia's most substantial collections of artworks by historical and contemporary Australian artists. The city has various theatres, the largest being Civic (~1500 seats).
- The 1988-founded Newcastle Museum is themed on region's history, industry, science, and culture, with permanent exhibitions relating to steel production, coal mining, local aboriginal tribes.
- Among city's best-known tourist attractions are also its numerous beaches. It is also known worldwide as a surf break destination, hosting annually (in March) the 'Surfest Newcastle Australia" - country's biggest surfing-themed festival.
Port Newcastle NSW
Port Newcastle is the largest seaport on Australia's east coast. It is also ranked the the world’s largest coal export port. Annually, the cruise port contributes around AUD 26,7 million to the NSW economy. This is Hunter Valley's only gateway port. It serves the local coal fields producing high-quality thermal coal. The seaport handles approx 40% of Australia’s coal export, mainly to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
On 6 February 2018, the company CMPort ("China Merchants Port Holdings") entered into Acquisition Agreement with Gold Newcastle Property Holding Ltd (wholly-owned subsidiary of CMU / "China Merchants Union"). CMU and Gold Newcastle agreed to sell their 50% interest in Port Newcastle (including shareholder loans AUD 162,5 million) to CMPort with a total consideration of AUD 607,5 million. The remaining 50% interest is held by TIF Investment Trus.
The acquisition is CMPort's first step to invest in Oceania and South Pacific. Company's "Port and Park" development projects (PPC / “Port-Park-City” model) aim to operate its largest port businesses as both cargo shipping and park developments.
Port's principal businesses include property investment, port and property management, port and trade development, dredging, survey, docking (wharf / berth) services, maintenance of assets, pricing for services. For FY2016, Port Newcastle reported total assets value approx AUD 2,4411 billion and net assets vallue AUD 854,8 million. In 2016, it handled 167 million tons of bulk cargo, of which 161 million were coal export.
The port consists of 4 zones, with a total of 21 berths (9 of which are coal berths) with a total annual capacity 211 million tons. it covers a total land area of 7,92 km2 (792 hectares), including 200 hectares vacant lands (for further development).
In September 2016, the NSW Government budgeted AUD 12,7 million for building a new multi-purpose passenger terminal (Carrington Cruise Terminal), which construction started in 2018.
In June 2018 started works on the new Newcastle Bulk Terminal at Walsh Point (Kooragang Island), with scheduled completion in 2019. The AUD 33 million investment was in bulk cargo handling equipment and infrastructure developments, with principle contractor Kerman Contracting. The new Bulk Terminal was created by combining 2 Kooragang berths (2 and 3). Construction works also included dismantling of 2 existing cranes (rail-mounted unloaders), construction of a new ship unloader crane, infrastructure upgrades (conveyors, wharf, electrical system). At the new cargo terminal are handled ships carrying fertilisers, foods, alumina (aluminum oxide), magnetite one, cement, bulk liquids.
In August 2018, the port started planning a new container terminal to boost local economy and reduce trucks through expanded use of city's rail connectivity. Economic modeling showed that a container terminal will significantly benefit city's economy by reducing freight and infrastructure costs and port congestion, boosting international shipping trade and generating local jobs.
On December 4, 2018, the South Korean company EPIK Co Ltd (specializing in LNG storage and project developments) announced its entering into an agreement with Port Newcastle to start preliminary construction works on an FSRU (floating storage and regasification unit) LNG import terminal. The company is subsidiary of EPIK International Inc (2012-founded corporation).
- The new LNG facility (EPIK Newcastle GasDock) is within the seaport.
- The project also includes building a new FSRU (storage capacity 170,000 m3) and on-shore infrastructure. The FSRU connects to a new jetty (built on Kooragang Island's port-owned land) thus linking to the existing natural gas network.
- The ~AUD 590 million (~USD 400 M / ~EUR 360 M) project aims to secure and increase region's gas supply and lower NSW's gas prices. Of the total investment, AUD 250 million are for onshore infrastructure developments and AUD 339 million - for the FSRU (gas storage).
In season 2018-2019, the port handled 16 cruise ships and 29,000+ passengers. For season 2019-2020, the cruise port had scheduled 15 ship calls, with estimated 30,000+ cruise tourists and maiden port visits by three liners (Explorer Dream, Sea Princess, Golden Princess).
Newcastle cruise terminal
Currently, large cruise ships in Newcastle NSW dock in Carrington, while smaller vessels may dock at Queen's Wharf (Newcastle's ferry terminal). There is a proposal for building a 2nd cruise terminal at Dyke Point.
In June 2016, NSW Government announced an USD 0,8 million port development project for Carrington Cruise Terminal, which mooring bollards were upgraded to handle larger vessels. For the project, the Australian Government provided USD 0,4 million.
In 2017, NSW Government contributed AUD 13,1 million towards cruise port's AUD 13,5 million upgrades.
Since 2019, all disembarking cruise ship passengers are welcomed by the Newcastle Cruise Volunteers team (38 members in blue shirts and white hats). The volunteers provide the visiting tourists with expert advice and information on local attractions and tour/excursion options.
Newcastle Cruise Terminal
In September 2016, the NSW Government announced its plans for constructing a new, purposefully-built cruise terminal. The new (AUD 12,7 million) facility was planned to be built at Channel Berth and to provide berthing for large-sized vessels (with LOA length up to 300 m / 984 ft). Its specifications are similar to Port Sydney's White Bay Terminal. The project was funded by "Restart NSW Hunter Infrastructure Investment Fund".
The new terminal covers an area of approx 3000 m2 (32,300 ft2) and as facilities has passenger drop-off-pick-up zones, coach parking area, cruise vessel provisioning facility. Construction works started in 2017 and were scheduled for completion in 2018. However, in April 2019, NSW Government cut the fundings that supported the project. The port received only AUD 800,000 for mooring bollards upgrades, which allows docking of larger liners with max capacity 3900 passengers.
Port Newcastle cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Newcastle, NSW Australia. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|1 November, 2019|
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