Cairns Shipping Development Project

The Cairns Shipping Development Project has widened and deepened the existing Trinity Inlet shipping channel and has placed dredge material on land at a cost of up to $127 million.

This project will facilitate cruise ship growth for vessels up to 300 metres, with a forecast demand of up to 150 cruise ships through the Port of Cairns by 2031. It is expected to generate significant economic benefits delivering more than $849 million to the region, and the potential for 800 new direct and indirect jobs during construction and more than 2,700 ongoing jobs by 2031.

While the main purpose of the Project is to take advantage of cruise shipping opportunities, there are also significant other benefits including:

  • enabling future expansion of the HMAS Cairns Base by relocating the existing cargo swing basin.allowing improved channel access for the existing Royal Australian Navy vessels
  • allowing larger visiting overseas Navy vessels (in particular US Navy carriers) to enter the Port for rest and relaxation visits
  • reduced tidal and loading restrictions on bulk cargo ships accessing the Port of Cairns, improving Port efficiency
  • increased resilience for the Port of Cairns against an extreme weather event

Ports North completed the dredging component of the Project on time and on budget with environmental impact monitoring finding no adverse impacts. The wharf upgrade works were completed in April, 2020.

On February 28, 2020, the first Vista Class cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth, successfully entered the harbour as the largest cruise ship to have ever arrived in Cairns - marking a new era in cruise ship visitation to our region. She is the first of an additional 14 Vista and Grand Class cruise ships coming to Cairns in 2020 as a result of the Project.

Cairns Shipping Development Project Completed - 2020

Arrival of Queen Elizabeth to the Port of Cairns


Cairns Shipping Development Project Stage 2

Photo gallery




Sign up for News & Port Updates