THE Cairns Shipping Development Project is entering the next phase with the announcement of the tender for major dredging and construction works.

RN Dredging, the Australian subsidiary of Rohde Nielsen, was awarded the contract and is to work with the Queensland-based dredging company Hall Contracting.

Dredging is expected occur over a 12-week period during the 2019 dry season, weather permitting.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Cairns Shipping Development Project would unlock new opportunities for North Queensland’s maritime industry.

“By 2031, will see an estimated 103 cruise ships through the Port of Cairns annually,” he said.

“This project has undergone one of the most rigorous environmental reviews in the country, and development of the port must be consistent with our commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, with dredge spoil to be reused or disposed on land.”

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Ports North chairman Russell Beer said RN Dredging is a high performing and competitive international dredging company with a proven track record in Australia, delivering projects in Queensland and across the country over the past decade.

The selection of a dredging contractor was based on assessing experience, methods, equipment and capability to meet strict environmental requirements and timeframes.

“RN will now team up with Australian-owned Hall Contracting (HC), the largest Queensland-based dredging company to carry out dredging works in the dry season,” Mr Beer said.

“HC will undertake all civil, earthworks and pipeline construction and operation of the two land-based dredge placement sites drawing on regional providers of marine and construction services and supplies.”

Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the tender would enable dredging of up to 1m cubic metres of sediment from the port’s existing navigation channel and placing the material on two land sites.

“I am thrilled that after years of planning and preparation for the Cairns Shipping Development Project it is swinging into action, Mr Pitt said.

“By upgrading our port and allowing larger cruise ships to visit the region, it means visitors from across the world will be spending their dollars on local businesses and restaurants.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the announcement marked an important milestone for the project. “This is a great result for locals, with the project to generate 800 jobs during construction and close to 2700 direct and indirect jobs by 2031,” he said.

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