Cairns Switches Focus to Accommodate Mega Cruise Ships

As the mega cruise ship market is expected to experience a strong growth, the Australian Cairns Shipping Development Project has switched its focus to target these vessels which measure up to 300 metres in length in an effort to take advantage of the growing market.

With the Ports North’s change of focus on capturing the growth in mid-to-large mega ships, the capital dredge volume has been reduced from 4.4 million cubic metres to 1 million. With this move, the projected cost of the project has also decreased, while opening the Trinity Inlet up to much larger ships, the Honourable Curtis Pitt, Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport, said.

“Based on the revised forecasts, the project will enable the Port of Cairns to dock around an extra 37 new mega cruise ships a year by 2026 with this increasing to 59 on the basis of a continuation of home-porting in Cairns and the establishment of the new Brisbane cruise liner terminal,” Pitt said.

The port is now completing an EIS for this revised project scope that will consider all environmental issues and impacts so that all the information is available for the regulatory agencies to assess the project. The final EIS report will be submitted for consideration by the Queensland Coordinator-General by 30 June 2017.

“While there is still considerable work to be done in the EIS investigation, I’m advised that the total cost will be reduced to around USD 120 million. That’s one-third of the cost of the LNP’s original estimate of over USD 360 million,” Pitt added.

Ports Minister Mark Bailey said that the Palaszczuk Government recognised the economic importance of the Port of Cairns to the region, and that the next stage of the project “will be to review potential beneficial re-use options for the significantly reduced volume of dredge material required for the project, along with impacts and management options associated with land-based disposal should beneficial re-use be unviable.”

Ports North will be meeting with tourism, business and local government leaders over the next fortnight to outline the revised project scope and have appointed local consultancy firm Flanagan Consulting Group (FCG) to work with Ports North to deliver the next stage of the project.

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