Douglas Shire Council has invited expressions of interest for
managing the last cable ferry crossing in tropical Australia.
The Daintree Ferry, about 50km north of Port Douglas, is a tourist attraction and carries about 100,000 vehicles across the river every year.
It provides a connection to the only sealed road access to the northern section of the Daintree National Park and to Cape Tribulation and north.
The current Daintree River Ferry Services contract started in 2006 and is due to expire on June 30, 2021.
The ferry was recently closed for two days when the Daintree River suffered its worst flood in 118 years.
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said the market may hold the key to improving the river crossing.
She said inviting expressions of interest was a critical exercise to complete before the formal tender process.
“We want to understand the full scope of potential out there and see what the market may be able to offer to improve this unique ferry service,” she said.
“Our officers will be undertaking early market engagement with a real mix of potential suppliers from not only across Australia, but across the globe.”
To ensure a seamless transition from the current contract to the new contract, the council said sufficient time must be allowed for potential service providers to submit their tender and to ensure the vessel
was ready to commence operations in July 2021.
The council is planning to be in a position to invite tenders by no later than June 30 this year and to award the contract by no later than December 31.