Ship lift puts Darwin on international marine services map

Darwin is set to be the location for the largest ship lift in northern Australia, with the Northern Territory Government greenlighting the $400 million project.

A ship lift is used to lift vessels out of the water so they can be serviced, repaired or stored, including for safety during cyclones.

According to a media statement from the NT Government, the ship lift will bring $260 million into the NT economy every year, creating about 100 jobs during construction and generating around 400 direct and indirect ongoing jobs during its operation.

This project has the potential to drive the development of prime industrial land to support the Defence, oil and gas, coastal barging and logistics sectors, and will position Darwin as a major national and international player in the marine services industry.

The 103m ship lift will be capable of servicing large vessels from industries including offshore petroleum, fishing, pearling, Defence and Border Force.

Territory-owned and headquartered Paspaley Group has partnered with the Territory Government on the project. The partnership will result in the ship lift being constructed on Government owned land and operated by Paspaley under a 10-year renewable agreement.

Key design features of the ship lift include:

  • 20ha of hard stand area for ship repair and maintenance works
  • A 103m ship lift capable of lifting vessels up to 5000 tonnes
  • 4 wet berths (wharves).

The facility will dry dock and launch vessels with up to 150 vessels expected to use the ship lift every year.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the ship lift would further open up the investment potential of the region and mean more business opportunities for local industry.

“Darwin is the only functional deep water harbour in Northern Australia. Without this facility, large vessels will have to travel 10 days to be serviced in another town or another country, adding inconvenience and cost to ship operators,” he said.

ICN NT is working with the project to identify and maximise local content in the construction phase.

Suppliers are encouraged to register for general updates on the project’s Gateway page.