More Time to Assess Cairns Port Deepening

Ports North has been granted an extension until mid-2017 to review its plans and environmental impact statement to expand the Port of Cairns.

Treasurer and Acting State Development Minister Curtis Pitt said that the Coordinator-General had today allowed Ports North until 30 June, 2017 to re-submit an EIS for the Cairns Shipping Development Project.

Granting this extension gives Ports North more time to develop a project that’s economically and environmentally sustainable for the expansion of Cairns Port,” Mr Pitt said.

The Cairns Shipping Development Project is able to proceed under the transitional arrangements under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, passed on November 12 in Parliament.

The scope of the project includes capital dredging of the swing basins in Trinity Inlet and deepening of the approach channel to the Port,” he said.

The project’s focus will be on increasing the size of ships that can enter and berth at Cairns Port. This all must be consistent with the government’s commitments to protect the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and to ban sea-based disposal of port-related capital dredged material,” added Pitt.

Ports North’s requested an extension of its current deadline of 31 March 2016 to allow it to conduct a number of steps including:

  • A review of target vessel sizes and channel improvement options;
  • Including the latest survey and field information on revised channel designs;
  • Simulations to verify the size of cruise ships and access of reduced upgrade channels;
  • Tidal window analysis to define limits on tidal constraints for each vessel size in the preferred channel widening alignment.

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