Works begin on $127m Cairns Shipping Development

Monica Gameng   |   July 3, 2019

Dredging works has commenced to deepen the Trinity Inlet in Queensland as part of the $127 million Cairns Shipping Development - a project that will deliver vital upgrades to the Port of Cairns.

In February of this year, RN Dredging Pty Ltd - a subsidiary of Rohde Nielsen A/S - was awarded the contract to undertake dredging and construction works.

“The Cairns Shipping Development is the key to unlocking a whole new tourism and jobs market for the Far North.

“Already we’re seeing this project create 800 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and by 2031 it’ll mean more than 2,700 jobs for the region,” Assistant Treasurer Glenn Butcher MP said.



A dredging vessel named Balder R has begun work to remove soft clays from the channel, which will open up the inlet to enable larger cruise ships to enter. The soft clay will then be transported to a facility 3 kilometres offshore to be pumped along an 8-kilometre pipeline towards a dedicated site at the Northern Sands mine.

Balder R will be dredging soft clay over a 12-week period and a second dredging vessel - Woomera - will begin work to remove stiff clays in late July.

“Not only will there be a significant increase in the size and number of cruise ships and other vessels that can berth in Cairns, the shipping channel and other port upgrades open up opportunities for the naval presence in Far North Queensland as well.

“What this means on the ground is more visitors to Cairns, more demand for tourism experiences in this beautiful region and more jobs across a range of businesses,” MR Butcher said.

Scope of work of the Cairns Shipping Development 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 of wharf 5
  • Relocation and installation of new navigational aids

cairns-shipping-development-project-locationSource: Ports North

“While the main purpose of the project is to take advantage of cruise shipping opportunities, it will also enable future expansion of the HMAS Cairns Base by relocating the existing cargo swing basin; improve port efficiency by allowing larger cargo and other vessels through; and increase the resilience of the Port of Cairns against an extreme weather event.

“This latest milestone in the project is very exciting for us,” Ports North Chairman Russell Beer said.

Once works are completed, the Port of Cairns will be able to cater to larger cruise ships up to 300 metres in length for the very first time, bringing in a boost to tourism in the region.

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Source: Queensland Government (1, 2); Inside Construction; Dredging Today

Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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