Construction works on the Townsville Port Expansion could start next year after the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project was approved by the Government of Queensland.
The EIS included comprehensive scientific assessments and consultation processes to address key issues, and the conditions placed on the Coordinator-General’s approval include stringent controls to ensure the health of Cleveland Bay is safeguarded, according to the port.
Ranee Crosby, Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer, said the AUD 1.6 billion (USD 1.25 billion), 30-year development plan would ensure the Townsville Port kept up pace with global and domestic demands.
“By 2045 the Port of Townsville will create up to six new berths, new land for cargo handling, and widen and deepen the channels for bigger ships,” Crosby commented.
“Securing growth of our port ensures that goods produced in our region can get access to the Asia-Pacific and beyond…It is the point of entry and departure for products shipped around the world,” he added.
The AUD 193 million Channel Capacity Upgrade will be the first work to start under the Townsville Port Expansion Project, involving widening of the shipping channels to accommodate larger ships.
“Ships are getting bigger, so widening of the channel is critical. This will result in lower shipping costs for freight, and allows larger cruise and defence ships to visit the city,” Crosby explained.
The Queensland Government has committed AUD 75 million towards the channel works, which will start next year pending Commonwealth approval of the Additional Environmental Impact Statement and finalization of funding. A decision by the Commonwealth Government is anticipated by October 24.
Townsville Port is the country’s biggest sugar, zinc, lead, copper and fertilizer port, and Northern Australia’s largest container and automotive port.