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12 Aug 2021

Major Milestone for Townsville Port Channel Upgrade Project

Major Milestone for Townsville Port Channel Upgrade Project

The Port of Townsville has built a 2.2-kilometer rock wall as part of the $232 million Channel Upgrade project, which will allow huge ships of up to 300 meters to dock rather than bypass the port.

The rock wall is simply the first step in enlarging Townsville's shipping channel, and the improvement is the largest infrastructure project in the Port of Townsville's history.

The material recovered as the dredging team begins work on widening nearly 15 kilometers of water channels over the next two years will be used to reclaim the land behind the wall and sustain a 62-hectare extension.

The Channel Upgrade, according to Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, is a crucial project under the Townsville City Deal.

“This is a major milestone in the channel upgrade project, which is not only the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken at the Port of Townsville, but will help position Townsville as the economic gateway to Asia and Northern Australia,” Mr Fletcher said.

“This project is one of many significant investments that we’re making through the City Deal, which is helping to generate local jobs, drive economic growth, and ensure that Townsville is a vibrant and liveable city for years to come.”

The Hon Mark Bailey MP, Queensland's Minister for Transport and Main Roads, claimed that renovating the port's channels would help the state's COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan by increasing capacity for commercial, defense, and cruise ships.

“We know that when the port is strong, close to 800,000 Queenslanders reap the benefits,” Mr Bailey said.

”That’s why we’re investing in this largest-ever port upgrade, which is supporting local jobs and providing work to local suppliers now during construction and will expand the trading capacity of one of Queensland’s largest publicly-owned ports.”

The Hon Scott Stewart, Queensland Resources Minister and Townsville State Member, said the channel renovation would support jobs in the Townsville region and provide local prospects throughout North Queensland's economic resurgence.

Since its inception in 2018, the initiative has employed over 1,300 individuals, with over 90% of them being Queenslanders, 10% being First Nations people, and over 6% being trainees and apprentices.

There were 200 trucks passing through the site gates every day during the peak building phase of the rock wall, delivering approximately 20,000 tonnes of rock each week.

Dredging to enlarge Townsville's 14.9-kilometer shipping channel will begin soon, with all dredge material being deposited in a 62-hectare reclamation area surrounded by a rock wall.

Dredging will take two years, with the project projected to be completed in late 2023.

As part of the project, the Port has committed $17 million for environmental monitoring and management programs, including those for dolphins, turtles, seagrass, coral, and shorebirds, with expert oversight provided by an Independent Technical Advisory Committee.

The Channel Upgrade project is the greatest infrastructure project in Townsville Port history, and it is the first step of the Port Expansion Project, which will take 30 years to complete.

The Townsville Port Channel Upgrade is a cooperative project of the Australian and Queensland governments, as well as Port of Townsville Limited, that was announced in December 2016 as part of the Townsville City Deal.