Responsible Agency: Far North Queensland Ports Corporation Limited
Proposal Stage of Development: Preliminary Business Case Underway
Planned Stage End Date: Q2 2017
Date of Publication: December 2016 (for period 4 June 2016 – 3 December 2016)


The existing Cairns shipping channel and swing basin lacks sufficient capacity to accommodate the existing and forecast future demand for cruise ships and limits port access for large Navy ships and HMAS Cairns’ expansion capacity. With the existing channel constraints and cruise customer experience associated with ship to shore tendering, options to increase cruise ship visits to Cairns are limited. Other proposals such as maximising cruise ship access to the existing channel through ship simulation and improved cruise tendering infrastructure at Yorkeys Knob have already been undertaken. These options have improved efficiencies of existing infrastructure but further redevelopment of channel infrastructure is considered to be required.


The objectives of the proposal are to:

  • provide additional channel and wharf infrastructure capacity to enable access for modern mega cruise ships up to 300 metres, large Navy ships and to improve efficiency of bulk cargo ships
  • relocate the Cairns channel’s swing basin to enable future expansion of HMAS Cairns’ Navy base
  • grow Cairns as a cruise shipping hub catering for both transit and home porting operations delivering economic benefits to both Cairns and other Queensland destinations.


Complete Preliminary Business Case    >    Building Queensland is assisting the Preliminary Business Case.

* A revised Environmental Impact Statement to inform the Preliminary Business Case is currently underway by the responsible agency.