Murray River ferry operations

Twelve River Murray ferry crossings are contracted as crucial links in South Australia’s (SA) road network. Current contracts are set to end on 31 October 2024. The ferry crossing is provided free of charge by the SA Government and service approximately 1.6 million vehicles annually. Tenders are currently being sought for the renewal of the contracts.

Background of Murray River ferry operations

During the River Murray floods, when the ferry services were not available the major bridges became the only crossing points. Swanport, Murray Bridge, Blanchetown, and Kingston on the Murray were the only crossing points for the summer months, which created very lengthy detours for the Riverland community. Therefore, recognising their significance, the SA Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) aims to secure providers committed to delivering safe, reliable, and continuous 24/7 ferry services.

Procurement objectives

The key objectives of this Provision of Services: Murray River Ferry Operation Contract No. 22C201) are:

  • engage capable service providers
  • maximise regional employment
  • achieve value for money
  • ensure proper ferry maintenance

This aligns with the department’s broader strategic goals of efficient transportation and maintaining essential links to the state’s road network.

Scope of Murray River ferry operations

The service for each ferry crossing is 24/7, except for the Mannum crossing, which operates between 7 am to 7 pm. The successful operator must

  • uphold high customer service standards
  • provide timely service
  • bear all costs without charging the public

The tender document outlines the breakdown of costs, including safety measures, operational procedures, and training processes.

General information

Factors such as safety management, operational procedures, ferry operator competency, and training processes must be considered when calculating pricing. The tender documentation is subject to changes in legislation, and contractors must adhere to the most recent iteration.


The operator must consider costs associated with site amenities, water and sewerage, power, electricity, and overall site maintenance. Geographic locations and the management of multiple ferry crossing locations are crucial aspects that should be thoroughly addressed in the tender response.

Compliance, workforce management, and business continuity

The tenderer must have a plan for compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2012, including evidence of compliance. DIT also requires evidence of compliance with work cover and suitable worker compensation insurance coverage. Additionally, a comprehensive workforce management strategy, covering organizational structure, staffing plans, competency and training, and business continuity, is essential for successful contract delivery.

Tender details

The Murray River ferry tender is due 30 January 2024. We have strong experience in transport infrastructure projects. Contact us you need assistance with your tender documentation.