Cairns Shipping Development

Project Description

The Cairns Shipping Development Project (CSDP) is a critical enabler of tourism, trade and defence for the region.  The CSDP aims to develop port infrastructure to secure a greater share of the lucrative international cruise ship market, enhance naval capacity and improve port efficiencies.

Cruise shipping has grown significantly in Australia in recent years both in frequency of activity and size of vessels.  The CSDP will improve port infrastructure including channel capacity to support and grow the cruise ship industry including the lucrative international market and enable growth for HMAS Cairns with significant benefits to the local economy and the Queensland cruise industry.

Ports North commenced an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) into the channel improvements in late 2012 in accordance with the Terms of Reference set out by both the State and Federal Governments.  Subsequent changes including the Federal Government’s regulation on sea disposal and the Queensland Government’s Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 impacted the EIS outcomes. With the period for finalisation of the EIS process extended to 31 December 2017, Ports North is revising the draft EIS in consideration of legislation changes while maintaining the project intent of increased cruise and other shipping access to the Port of Cairns.  Work includes completing cruise ship demand analysis, channel design review, land, beneficial reuse, cost, environmental and economic benefit assessment.  Previous assessments have shown significant economic benefits associated with expansion of the cruise industry in Cairns.



This project will enable 1 million cubic metres of capital dredge volume to be placed on land at an approximate cost of $120 million.  Ports North is on track to submit the draft EIS report to the Queensland Coordinator General by June 2017.


Far North Queensland Ports Corporation Limited, trading as Ports North, is a Queensland Government owned corporation responsible for the development and management of the declared Ports of Cairns, Cape Flattery, Karumba, Mourilyan, Skardon River, Quintell Beach, Thursday Island, Burketown and Cooktown. Their operations and facilities are vital to the economic development of the regional centres they service and the State’s tourism and export performance. Ports North handle bulk shipments of sugar, molasses, silica sand, zinc, fuel, fertiliser, log products, minerals, livestock and general cargo. Ports North also has extensive marina and tourism facilities, particularly in Cairns.


Prioritise Cairns Port infrastructure as a strategic investment in the regional economy enabling long-term sustained growth for tourism, Navy, port and service industries.  Commit to this $1B industry by supporting the EIS process to be completed by December 2017 and implementing the CSDP in 2018.


CEO, Advance Cairns
Ph: 07 4080 2900

PROPONENT: Advance Cairns
PRIORITY: Infrastructure
STATE ELECTORATES: Cairns, Barron River, Mulgrave
FEDERAL ELECTORATE: Leichhardt, Kennedy