Image: Artist's impression of the project.

The Darwin Ship Lift Project has reached an important milestone with the award by the Northern Territory Government to Pearlson Shiplift Corporation for the $48 million contract to supply the ship lift operating system, steel trestles and design and supply an integrated self-propelled modular transporter (SPMT) system. 

The Ship Lift will be capable of lifting vessels up to 5,500 tonnes, enabling vessels in the defence, energy, pearling, fishing and coastal cruising industries to be serviced in Darwin.

Pearlson Shiplift Corporation is one of only three companies worldwide with the unique capabilities and operating system to undertake this significant piece of work and have delivered numerous ship lifts worldwide.

The ship lift system is the componentry that physically lifts and lowers the vessels in and out of the water. The SPMT is a modular system used to move vessels around the facility once they are out of the water. The steel trestles are used to support the vessels when they are lifted out of the water and transferred onto land.

Upon completion, the Northern Territory Government-owned Ship Lift facility will create hundreds of local jobs within the maritime support sector and contribute significantly to the region's economic growth and stability.

In April, Clough BMD Joint Venture (JV) began construction activity at the Ship Lift site at East Arm, including identifying underground services, demolishing existing concrete structures and constructing a temporary access to the ship lift site for construction vehicles.

Hon Eva Lawler, Chief Minister Northern Territory, said: “The Darwin Ship Lift will provide wet and dry berths for vessels wash down, blasting, painting and general maintenance facilities and will help position Darwin and the Territory as a critical maritime maintenance centre for the Asia Pacific region.

Luke Munro, Project Manager, Darwin Ship Lift said: “Clough BMD JV is delivering the Darwin Ship Lift Facility project with a local first approach and we’re committed to making a positive impact across the Territory through education, jobs, business opportunities and community initiatives.
“We look forward to liaising closely with the NT Government to onboard Pearlson Shiplift Corporation into the project and collaborating with them to identify project efficiencies,” he added. 
“Clough BMD JV’s focus remains on concurrently progressing procurement activities and working closely with the Territory Government to provide opportunities for Territorians to be involved in this milestone project and world-class facility.”
Site works commenced in April with a focus on site establishment and prep works ahead of dredging and construction activities.

Approximately $17.8 million in contracts have been let to local Territory businesses, including $16.9 million to Wilga Indigenous Corporation to supply 430,000 tonnes of rock to construct the Darwin Ship Lift facility. Wilga Indigenous Corporation will start transporting the rock quarry material to the ship lift site in East Arm this month.