Port of Townsville

THE FIRST STAGE OF THE TOWNSVILLE PORT EXPANSION PROJECT IS TO WIDEN THE SEA (ENTRANCE) CHANNEL

TO ALLOW FOR BIGGER COMMERCIAL , CRUISE AND MILITARY VESSELS TO ACCESS TOWNSVILLE .

Townsville Port is the largest container and automotive port in Northern Australia, supplying a population of nearly 800,000 people with essential things like fuel, gas, food, furniture, electrical goods, clothing, cement, bitumen and vehicles. Farmers export their products like sugar, frozen meat, cattle, fruit and vegetables, and mining company’s ship out commodities like copper, zinc, silver and lead.

 

Townsville Port also supports critical Defence operations and cruise tourism in the region, and will welcome more than 33,000 passengers and crew to Townsville in 2017/2018.

 

9,000 jobs are connected to the operation of the Port.

 

Over the past 150 years the Port has expanded in three key stages in response to growth of the region. The Port Expansion Project is a longterm development of six new berths and channel widening and deepening, staged to meet forecast trade demand over the next 30 years. The first stage of the project is the widening of the channel to cater for larger ships.

 

Please click on the links below to download the Fact Sheet documents:

PEP FAQ Fact Sheet

PEP Overview Fact Sheet

PEP Stage 1 Fact Sheet

WHY IS CHANNEL WIDENING REQUIRED ?

Over the past 40 years ship sizes have grown significantly and are continuing to get bigger. Townsville’s channel has not kept up with this growth, and is approximately half the width of access channels at other major ports.

 

Larger ships are already bypassing Townsville to pick up and drop off freight for North Queensland at capital city ports where they can fit. Cruise lines have already indicated they want to call Townsville, but cannot fit the larger ships through the channel safely.

Port of Townsville Port Expansion Project

If the channel is not widened now, North Queensland will be dependent on trucking or railing freight over 1,300 kilometres south to get to and from markets, adding increased time and cost for North Queenslanders. Larger cruise ships will also continue to sail past Townsville.

Port of Townsville Port Expansion Project

By widening the channel to give larger ships access, existing berths will be used more, our economy will grow and there will be an increasing demand for more berths.

HOW DOES WIDENING OF THE CHANNEL ALLOW FOR LONGER SHIPS?

When ships sail down the sea channel their course (or direction) can be affected by both the wind speed and current conditions in the ocean.The channel needs to be much wider than the ship so that it has plenty of room either side to prevent it grounding.

 

By widening the channel from 92 metres at the narrowest point to 180 metres, the size of ships that can access Townsville will increase from 238 metres to more than 300 metres.

Port of Townsville Port Expansion Project
Port Expansion Project

HOW WILL THE CHANNEL BE WIDENED?

The channel will be widened by using a combination of industry standard dredging equipment, chosen to ensure minimal impact to the environment.

 

The mechanical dredge is an excavator mounted onto a pontoon which digs material from the sea bed and puts it onto a waiting barge. The barge then moves the material to the reclamation area (see diagram) to the east of the Port.

 

No capital dredge material is disposed of at sea – it will be placed into a fully contained area at the port.

 

Townsville Port is located outside the Great Barrier Marine Park.

Port Expansion Project

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

The channel widening will take about 4 ½ years in total, following environmental and operation works approvals. This includes one year to prepare the fully enclosed bunded areas to receive all the capital dredge material, and about 3 ½ years of dredging work.

 

About 80% of the work to widen the channel is at the harbour entrance and Platypus Channel (close to the port), and the remaining 20% (approximately six months) is in the sea channel.

 

An Independent Scientific Oversight Panel will monitor the dredging and sets thresholds to safeguard environmental performance. The Panel has the authority to stop works if any impacts are observed.

Port of Townsville Port Expansion Project
Port of Townsville