Sydney situation “critical”
SENIOR executives from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are meeting with Sydney Ports Authority today as part of an ongoing campaign to resolve the impasse of Sydney Harbour’s cruise capacity.
NCLH executive vice president of international business development, Harry Sommer, told CW this morning “We can’t over-emphasise how critical the Sydney situation has become,” with the latest schedule for Sydney’s 2019-20 season completely full from Oct-mid-Feb.
“It’s crazy...there’s no other port in the world where you can’t get a slot for a whole four month period,” Sommer said.
Norwegian’s comments mirror those of other cruise operators in recent months, with Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corporation both announcing changes to deployments because of insufficient Sydney capacity.
Sommer and NCLH regional chief Steve Odell said the issue was more than just economics, with jobs also under threat if industry growth was constrained.
The company is open to a range of options and is ready to make significant investments in infrastructure, as it has done in other ports across the globe.
“But the government is still sitting on its hands,” they said, adding “there’s talk and more talk but nothing happens”.
While the NSW Govt is finally engaging directly with the industry, the pair are also urging federal intervention, possibly in relation to Garden Island.
While a ‘double stacking’ solution has been proposed for the Overseas Passenger Terminal, operationally this is “very difficult,” the NCL chiefs said.