Sydney’s OPT to receive $50 million upgrade

Ships are getting bigger by the year, and Sydney is struggling to accommodate.

Half the ships being built in the future are too tall to fit under the Harbour Bridge. A number of ships already built are unable to fit into the Harbour. Among them include the current two largest ships in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

As a result, Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal is expected to undergo a $50 million upgrade as part of the NSW government’s plans to welcome larger cruise ships, The Australian reported.

The state government is said to be considering an extension to the terminal’s wharf-front to handle bigger ships.

A spokesperson told The Australian, that the NSW government is hoping to make an official announcement on the project before Christmas. But changes to the terminal could include the extension to its wharf-front and a new internal mezzanine level so cruise lines can process passengers faster.

Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry said it is important to support the growing industry.

According to Sydney Ports, the 2012/13 cruise season reached a new record, with 36 cruise ships visiting in February 2012. And it embarked more than 6,600 passengers.

“We welcome moves to improve facilities at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, which is of particular importance as the only full-time commercial berth east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” Ms Sherry said.

“Sydney’s port infrastructure needs are pressing because by 2020, more than half the ships visiting Sydney will be too big to sail under the Harbour Bridge.”

Meanwhile, the future of Garden Island is still up in the air, with the federal government yet to reveal whether cruise ships will be able to sail into the navy base.

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