Melbourne ups the ante

Industry Database

Melbourne, Australia's largest container port, has moved towards deepening sections of its channels to accommodate vessels of up to 14 metres draught at all tides.

Currently, about one in four containerships leaving the port cannot load to full capacity as sections of the bay are too shallow. This has led to concerns that Melbourne might lose business to Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, all of which now have deep water access. The Port of Melbourne is seen as vital to the Victorian economy, generating around 80,000 jobs directly and indirectly and handling more than A$76m in exports every day.

Now, the channel deepening project has progressed with consulting engineers and environmental scientists Royal Haskoning completing a marine risk assessment. Royal Haskoning has been assessing potential risks associated with the dredging work and the changes a deeper channel would bring to shipping movements. These include potential risks of collision or grounding due to increased traffic through the channel.

"We carried out comprehensive desk research and some site visits to gather data to feed into the modelling software, " says project manager Jim Marriage. "The marine risk assessment will prove an important element of the comprehensive environmental process currently underway, before a public exhibition process which is scheduled to take place early in the New Year."

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