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This week P & O Cruises announced their withdrawal from Australia. Carnival, its parent company, said that it was too expensive to operate the brand in Australia. They cited the small market and higher operating and regulatory costs in Australia. P&O Cruises has been part of Miami based Carnival Corporation & plc for 20 years. The vessels will be re-branded and absorbed into Carnival Cruise Line.

It is said to be part of a move away from smaller cruise liners of around 2,000 passengers to larger cruise ships carrying as many as 7,600 passengers.

Pacific Jewel at Station Pier in 2014 photo courtesy of Allan Marshall

At Webb Dock

Last week, on 27 May, Wallenius Wilhelmsen entered into an agreement to sell Melbourne International RoRo & Auto Terminal Pty Ltd (MIRRAT) for AUD 332.5 million to Australian Amalgamated Terminals Pty Ltd (AAT), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qube Holdings Limited, Australia’s largest logistics provider.

MIRRAT was awarded the rights to design, construct and operate the new RoRo & Automotive Terminal at Webb Dock West as part of the Port Capacity project. It opened on 10 April 2016. It has proved to be successful and profitable.

The MIRRAT facility has 3 berths, 14,500 car slots and occupies a 187,000 sqm footprint. (That is the sea of cars you might glimpse to the left as you head outbound on the West Gate Bridge). Some of those cars are Teslas. Not long ago, there was a waiting list for these vehicles, but now they pile up as electric vehicle sales reportedly stall.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen, the world’s largest RoRo vessel operator, will continue to use the facility. Car carriers, like container ships, are getting bigger. New car carriers ordered by Wallenius Wilhelmsen can carry 9,300 cars, rather than around 7,000 of most car carriers at present.

RoRo boats are specifically designed to carry a wide range of wheeled cargo, including cars, trucks, trailers, and even trains and trams. RoRo was pioneered in Melbourne at the emerging Webb Dock with ANL’s Princess of Tasmania in the 1950s.

Car carrier bserved from the St Kilda Ferry in June 2018

AAT, part of Qube Holdings, is Australia’s largest motor vehicle and RoRo terminal operator. Qube’s history also relates to P&O.

In April 2007, KFM Diversified Infrastructure and Logistics Fund acquired a 75% shareholding in P&O Automotive & General Stevedoring and 50% shareholding in P&O Trans Australia from DP World.

Patrick, one of the Port of Melbourne’s three terminal operators1, is 50% owned by Qube and 50% by Brookfield Infrastructure.

Patrick Stevedores is strongly associated in Port with the 1998 Waterfront Dispute. Chris Corrigan, managing director of Patrick at that time, has been a driving force in KFM Diversified Infrastructure and Logistics Fund which became Qube.


1 The three container terminal operators in the Port of Melbourne are the Victoria International Container Terminal (Webb Dock), Patrick (Swanson Dock) and DP World (Swanson Dock)


Qube – our history

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