The February 2017 issue of Australian Ports News featured the Port of Townsville. I was commissioned to write four stories on it ranging from a CEO’s overview to a berth upgrade and a new ship unloading/loading solution for Sun Metals.
In addition, I reported back on progress of a jetty and conveyor reconstruction at Eden Port in NSW and the building and delivery by Hart Marine of the first 17.3m Pantocarene-designed pilot boat in Australia. I have included the Townsville Port CEO’s Overview on this page. The other stories are available to read in a PDF you can download by clicking the button below.
Preparing the Port of Townsville for the future
The Port of Townsville is the largest general cargo and container handling port in Northern Australia and has a proud history of serving the region since 1864.
It is run by Port of Townsville Limited (POTL) led by CEO Ranee Crosby and is in a state of continuous improvement and expansion. Ms Crosby said that POTL was committed to providing a facility which would serve the needs of all stakeholders now and in the future
She said that future demands on the port would increase and that the Townsville Port Expansion Project plan had been devised in 2007 to take the projected growth into account and lay out a program for upgrading existing facilities and building new infrastructure.
“The aim of POTL is to identify future needs, conduct the necessary Environmental Impact Assessments and obtain approval for projects far enough in advance so they can be delivered as needed to avoid the port becoming a bottleneck in the regional supply chain,” she said.
One of the first major projects, completed in 2012, was the $53-million Townsville Port Access Road providing direct access from the port to the regional highway network. This routed heavy traffic away from residential areas and allowed the use of 53m triple road trains which improved transport efficiencies to and from the port.
Another project was the upgrade of Berth 10 for Defense use and to cater for the ever-growing number of visiting cruise liners. At the berth’s opening in October, 2013, Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston said that the berth would support the navy’s new Helicopter Landing Dock (LHD) vessels as well as other RAN ships and visiting warships from other nations.
Ms Crosby said that Berth 10 was an important facility for the port and that its timely completion would not only support the military in their mission but would also become a major factor in attracting more cruise liners with all the economic benefits associated with greatly increased volumes of visitors.
The next major development at the port was an $85-million upgrade to Berth 8 which is mostly being used by Glencore and Incitec Pivot and was jointly funded by them and POTL. The 100-year-old berth had been equipped with 40-year-old shiploading equipment and the upgrade, along with new shiploaders, effectively doubled its capacity .
The port’s program to upgrade and extract the maximum benefit from its existing infrastructure has received wide recognition including winning the Svitzer Australian Port or Terminal of the Year award in 2016, for the second year running.
Currently underway at the port is a $42.7-million project to upgrade Berth 4 which involved the demolition of Berths 6&7 to provide the room to extend Berth 4’s quay line seaward by 7m to line up with Berth 2&3’s. The project has an expected completion date in December and will provide many benefits including doubling the port’s capacity to handle containerised cargo.
The first major project under the PEP is the harbour entrance widening project which will hopefully begin in 2018. The 14km harbour entrance channel is to be widened from 92m to 180m to accommodate vessels up to 300m long which currently have to bypass Townsville.
Other projects in future will involve boosting the number of berths as required and, according Ms Crosby, POTL is totally committed to anticipate these needs and deliver them timeously.
“The future is very bright for Northern Australia with Townsville expected to play a major part and the port will be key to the process. We take that responsibility seriously and are committed to growing and providing the facilities required,” she said.