A call has been issued to dredging companies for expressions of interest to participate in the Cairns Shipping Development Project.
The contract would cover the dredging and the removal and placement of capital dredge material on land.
The project aims to expand the capacity of Trinity Inlet’s shipping channel to allow bigger cruise ships access the port.
The EOI is the first part in a two-stage process to find a dredging contractor based on experience, methods, equipment and capability to meet strict environmental requirements and timeframes.
Subject to finalisation of project approvals, Ports North plans to start work in 2019, allowing the first larger ships to call later that year.
Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the EOI would allow potential contractors to provide detailed capability information on typical work methods, equipment availability, company resources, management systems and local industry opportunities.
“We can then assess their capability to meet project timeframes, design parameters, strict and comprehensive environmental requirements and other project objectives,” he said.
State transport minister Mark Bailey said while a number of approvals still needed to be obtained by Ports North, calling for expressions of interest from dredging contractors was a major step forward for the Cairns Shipping Development Project.
“The Queensland Coordinator-General granted environmental approval for this project in February,” Mr Bailey said.
“Ports North has since been working with the State Government on a detailed business case in accordance with the Building Queensland Framework, as well as with the Federal Government to finalise approvals as soon as possible.”
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the upgrade to the Port of Cairns was vital for economic and tourism growth in Far North Queensland region.
“The widening and deepening of the existing navigation channel to allow larger cruise ships to berth at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal would unlock other benefits too,” Mr Healy said.
“The project will also enable future expansion of the HMAS Cairns Navy base; improve access and efficiency for bulk cargo and larger visiting Navy vessels and increased resilience for the Port of Cairns against extreme weather events.”
According to the Queensland Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, key features of the $120m Cairns Shipping Development Project include:
- dredging to widen and deepen the existing outer shipping channel (Trinity Inlet);
- widening and deepening of the existing inner harbour channel and Crystal swing basin;
- establishment of a new shipping swing basin (Smith’s Creek swing basin) to enable future expansion of the HMAS Cairns Navy base;
- placement of material from capital dredging on land;
- upgrade of the existing cruise shipping wharves (Trinity wharves 1 to 5);
- partial demolition of wharf 6 to allow for extension to wharf 5; and
- relocation and installation of new navigational aids.