Darwin Harbour

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has made a $300 million investment into building the largest ship lift in Northern Australia.

The $300 million NAIF loan will be made to the Northern Territory Treasury Corporation, with the Northern Territory Government contributing the remaining $100 million for the project.

NT Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, said, “This is a major national project, positioning the Territory’s marine industry on the national and international map, and delivering hundreds of jobs for Territorians.

“It is a strategic investment which will further open up the investment potential of the region, and mean more business opportunities, which means more local permanent jobs.”

Located at East Arm, the 103m ship lift will be capable of servicing large vessels from industries including offshore petroleum, fishing, pearling, Defence and Border Force – being used to lift vessels out of the water so they can be serviced, repaired or stored, including for safety during cyclones.

The ship lift will bring $260 million into the NT economy every year and generate 400 direct and indirect ongoing jobs during operation through the expansion of the ship building and repairs and maintenance industry. It will also create 100 jobs during construction.

Ship lift works are due to be announced soon, with the engineering consultancy tender first to be awarded by the end of 2019, followed by a competitive construction tender process in June 2020.

Construction works will commence in 2021 with the ship lift facility anticipated to be operational in 2023.

Darwin is the only functional deep water harbour in Northern Australia and currently without this infrastructure, large vessels travel ten days to be serviced in another town.

The ship lift will be operated by Paspaley under a ten-year renewable agreement with the NT Government.

Paspaley Pearls Group COO, Dr Sam Buchanan said, “The Paspaley Group own and maintain a large fleet of vessels, all sailing in and out of Darwin Harbour on a regular basis – these vessels, currently maintained in Darwin, will help ensure the ongoing viability of the ship lift, as an anchor tenant for the facility.”

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