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Northern Australia's largest ship lift facility to be built in the Northern Territory


Posted by Monica Gameng

A new $400 million ship lift facility - the largest in Northern Australia - is set to be built at East Arm in the Northern Territory. Local company Paspaley Group will be partnering with the State Government for the delivery of this project.

The ship lift is expected to inject $260 million into the local economy each year and its construction is anticipated to support up to 100 jobs. This development could also lead to an expansion of the State’s ship building as well as repairs and maintenance industries, with up to 400 direct and indirect jobs created during the ship lift’s operation.

“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’s a strategic investment that will further open up the investment potential of the region, and mean more business opportunities,” NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

The 103-metre ship lift is going to be built on government-owned land and will be operated by Paspaley Group under a 10-year renewable agreement. It will service large vessels such as offshore petroleum, fishing, pearling, Defence and Border Force.

Ship lifts are used to lift vessels out of the water to get repaired or stored.

Features of the East Arm ship lift facility include:

  • 20 hectares of hard stand area for ship repair and maintenance works
  • A 103-metre ship lift  capable of lifting vessels up to 5,000 tonnes
  • 4 wet berths (wharves)

This facility is expected to accommodate up to 150 vessels annually.

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.

“A ship lift in Darwin is good for the Territory and is good for the nation,” Mr Gunner said.

Paspaley Group owns and maintains a large fleet of vessels, and the company will be the principal tenant for the facility, ensuring its ongoing viability.

“The Paspaley Group is proud to bring decades of experience and world-class marine industry capabilities to this project.

“This local knowledge, combined with our international experience, will help us to develop and operate this facility to the international standard it deserves,” Paspaley Group CEO James Paspaley said.

The ship lift facility will be open for commercial use and made available to all customers. Pricing and access will be managed by the independent Utilities Commission.

The Northern Territory Government has invested $100 million towards the delivery of the ship lift.

The next steps for this project will include finalising a project development agreement with Paspaley Group and securing all necessary environmental approvals.

The contract for engineering, design and construction is expected to be awarded in late 2020, with construction to begin in 2021. The new ship lift facility is anticipated to be operational by 2023.

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Source: Northern Territory Government Newsroom; Inside Construction; The National Tribune

Monica Gameng

Monica Gameng

As PlantMiner's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1000 posts. She truly is an industry expert. Monica's passion for educating and inspiring readers saw the PlantMiner blog recognised by Feedspot as one of the Best Australian Construction Blogs in 2018 and 2019. PlantMiner is Australia's largest online construction marketplace. Sign up as a vendor to find and engage with civil and commercial contractors across Australia. Alternatively, if you're looking for plant and equipment you can compare equipment and subcontractor quotes from vendors near you in just a few steps.