Darwin Ship Lift Project

Environmental approvals

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was lodged with the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority (NTEPA) in November 2021 and was available for public comment until 14 January 2022.  The NT Government will lodge a supplementary to the EIS to address the comments made.

Read the draft EIS on the NTEPA website.

Referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act was lodged and accepted by Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) in November 2021 and went on public exhibition until 25 November 2021.

In December 2021, DAWE determined that the project was a ‘controlled action’, sighting migratory birds and threatened marine fauna species as the grounds for this decision.

In February 2022, DAWE provided advice that the project will be assessed by preliminary documentation. Work is underway on preparing the additional documentation for submission.


The project is now in the final stage of the three staged procurement process.

The two shortlisted companies, Territoria Civil and Clough-BMD Joint Venture will each deliver crucial design and development work over coming months to ensure the ship lift is primed to build and grow a thriving marine service and supply sector in the Territory.

The selection of the companies with deep local experience proves the Territory has the capacity to deliver world-class projects, which will attract global expertise to further benefit the Territory.


The NT Government is building the largest ship lift in Northern Australia. The Darwin Ship Lift Facility will enable the maintenance and servicing of Defence and Australian Border Force vessels, along with commercial and private vessels, including from the oil, gas and marine industries.

The Darwin Ship Lift Facility will be designed to meet the needs of the general maritime sector and the current and long-term needs of the Department of Defence and the Australian Border Force, while supporting local jobs and economic growth in the Territory.

Once operational the facility will be a catalyst for the development of a marine maintenance and servicing industry, and the creation of many new jobs.

The common user ship lift facility will include:

  • a ship lift 26m wide, 103m long and 6m deep
  • lifting capability of 5,000 tonnes
  • wet berths (wharves)
  • additional hard stand area for ship repair and maintenance works.

The ship lift will have the capacity to lift vessels such as the new fleet of offshore patrol vessels procured by the Australian Defence Force.

The Darwin Ship Lift Facility will be a common user facility, which will enable vessel owners to choose and manage their own service and maintenance providers. This will also enable multiple providers to operate concurrently at the facility.

The ship lift is a common user facility that will operate on a commercial basis. There will be a legislated open access regime to ensure fair and equal use for all customers. Pricing and access will be overseen by the independent Utilities Commission. Construction is anticipated to take two years, becoming operational in 2024.

Contact details for the shortlisted participants in the Design Development Phase are available on the ICN NT Gateway project page. Suppliers are encouraged to register their interest via the ICN NT database to receive updates / notifications on upcoming activities for the project. To register your interest, go to the ICN NT Gateway.

For general enquiries regarding the project email shiplift@nt.gov.au.

Concept image of the ship liftConcept image of the ship liftConcept image of the ship liftConcept image of the ship liftConcept image of the ship liftConcept image of the ship lift

Last updated: 04 April 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!