Port of Cairns

Cairns Seaport is a multi-purpose regional port that caters for a diverse range of customers from bulk and general cargo, cruise shipping, fishing fleet and reef passenger ferries.

The Port's bulk cargo includes petroleum products, sugar, molasses, fertiliser and liquid petroleum gas.

The Port has long been the natural consolidation and redistribution centre for supplies that are shipped to the coastal communities north of Cairns as well as the Torres Strait Islands and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The Port is a supply and service centre for the Freeport mine operations in Indonesia with regular mine servicing shipping operations out of the Port.

The Port has extensive land holdings that are leased to Seaport customers and is home to one of Australia's largest fishing fleets.

The Port offers extensive and experienced ship building and repair services with a number of slipways and dry docks up to 3,000 tonne capacity for a diverse range of ship maintenance requirements.


Fees & Charges

Berthing priority is given to commercial vessels in the loading and unloading of cargo ships and the disembarkation and embarkation of passengers.  Priority is based on cargo type and size. 

Berth allocations and supervision of these wharves is under the control of Ports North' Seaport Operations Office.  To arrange for a berth, please contact this office. 

Phone:   +61 7 4051 2558

Email:     seaport.operations@portsnorth.com.au

Please refer to the related documents to the right of the screen for a list of fees and charges. 

Security & MSIC

The Port of Cairns is a Regulated Port under the Maritime Transport Security and Off Shore Facilities  Act 2003.  A Security Plan for the Regulated Port is in place and there are specific requirements for all users of the Port to comply with under this Plan.  Regulated Ship Security All regulated vessels are berthed at wharves secured by Maritime Security Zones as identified by the Maritime Security Plan. Access is restricted to persons having business on board or as bona fide visitors. MSIC Cards Anyone who requires access within a Maritime Security Zone will need to apply for and wear a Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC).
The MSIC is a nationally consistent identification card which confirms that the holder has met the minimum background checking requirements to work in a maritime and/or offshore security zone. A MSIC is not an access control card, and possession of an MSIC does not provide the right of entry to any facility within a Maritime Security Zone. Access to Maritime Security Zones is managed by the Maritime Industry Participant (MIP), or facility operator.

Ports North no longer processes or issues MSICs.  Suggested online websites to apply for a MSIC include:

www.multicard.com.au   www.msic.net.au   www.msic-card.com.au

Your Role in Security

All persons have a security responsibility. If you see an unattended package or bag, with no apparent reason for being there, here’s what to do:

  • Ask if anyone owns it.
  • If no one does, don’t touch it.
  • Alert others to keep away.
  • Contact security

Keep an eye out for anything suspicious
If you see anything suspicious call the 24-hour National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400. Trained operators take every call seriously and you can remain anonymous.

Seaport History

1770 Lieutenant James Cook names Trinity Bay
1873 October: George Elphinstone Dalrymple surveys Trinity Bay
1876 October: Arrival of first permanent European settlers. 15 December: First official wharf lease in Trinity Bay issued to ASN Co.
1899 14 June: Meeting to discuss the establishment of a Harbour Board.
1905 20 December: Cairns Harbour Board gazetted.
1906 1 January: Cairns Harbour Board legislation comes into force. 28 February: Inaugural meeting of the Cairns Harbour Board (aborted). 7 March: First full meeting of CHB and election of Chairman.
1907 1 August: Resumption of principal private wharves completed except the Chillagoe Wharf.
1908 6 January: The Cairns Harbour Board occupies its new office.
1910 Construction begins on the first concrete wharf.
1913 Dredge Trinity Bay purchased.
1914-1918 World War I
1915 Cairns Harbour Board purchases the Chillagoe Wharf.
1924 Construction of the mechanised sugar loading facility.
1939-1945 World War II
1942 May: Arrival of Royal Australian Navy to establish base. May: American armed forces arrive in Cairns to establish base.
1943 Construction of Smith's Creek Wharf for US forces. Establishment of Flying Boat base.
1950 May: Fruit cannery opens in Smith’s Creek wharf shed.
1964 Construction of Cairns Meat Export freezer facility at Cairns wharf. 4 June: First sugar taken into bulk sugar terminal. 19 June: Last shipment of bagged sugar to leave Cairns on Ras Maersk. 5 October: Cairns bulk sugar terminal officially opened. 26 October: First shipment of bulk sugar exported from the bulk sugar terminal to Japan on the Sally Stove.
1972 19 January: Cairns Harbour Board opens new office on Esplanade.
1980's Construction of Commercial Fishing Basins 1 and 2
1981 1 November: Cairns Port Authority established.
1987 Construction of Marlin Marina.
1990 December: Marlin Marina damaged by Cyclone Joy.
1993 27 November: Cairns Port Authority moves into new office complex on site of original office.
1994 Constuction of new General Cargo Wharves 7-8
1997 March: Destruction of Marlin Marina by Cyclone Justin.
2003 Expansion of Cairns Marlin Marina including super yacht berths and Reef Fleet facilities May: Reef Fleet Terminal opened. May: Cityport North completed.
2010 November: Opening of the newly refurbished Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal
2011 Construction of 'G' Finger at the Marlin Marina
2012 November: Opening of the new Foreshore Redevelopment and Wharf Shed 2


Contact Us:

Address:   Cnr Grafton & Hartley Streets, Cairns QLD Australia 4870

Postal:      PO Box 594, Cairns QLD Australia 4870

Phone:     + 61 7 4052 3888

Fax:         + 61 7 4052 3853

Email:       enquiries@portsnorth.com.au

Website:   www.portsnorth.com.au

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