Dredging contractors are being invited to provide Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the removal and placement of dredge material for the Cairns Shipping Development Project, the Queensland Government said in its latest release.
The EOI is the first part of a two-stage process to procure a dredging contractor based on their experience, methods, equipment and capability to meet strict environmental requirements and timeframes.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said that 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 finalize approvals as soon as possible.”
Member for Cairns, Michael Healy, added that 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.”
Subject to finalizing all project approvals, Ports North plan to start work in 2019 and have the first larger cruise ship entering the upgraded channel in late 2019.
Dredging will occur over a 12-week period.