Rock supply contract a solid start to channel upgrade

The $193 million Port of Townsville Channel Upgrade Project has taken another major step with a multi-million-dollar rock supply contract awarded to Holcim Australia Pty Ltd.

Holcim will supply a significant portion of the rock required to construct the wall that will protect a 62-ha Reclamation Area that will eventually accommodate expanded Port infrastructure.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Channel Upgrade Project would support more than 125 jobs during its construction.

“Queensland’s Government-Owned Ports facilitate trade which creates jobs and investment in the Queensland economy,” Mr Stewart said.

“Townsville Port is a major trade gateway for Northern Australia and for the nation – it is the country’s largest sugar, zinc, lead, copper and fertiliser port and Northern Australia’s largest container and automotive port.

“The Palaszczuk Government is keeping its commitment to Queenslanders to keep state assets in public hands, including our ports.

“The Channel Upgrade project is essential for securing freight supply chains, creating jobs and investment in North Queensland and will mean bigger ships direct into Townsville reducing the cost of imports for the Queensland economy.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the project was one of the centrepieces of the Palaszczuk Government’s $840 million infrastructure commitment for the Townsville Region in 2018/19.

“A strong economy that creates jobs relies on strategic investment in infrastructure, and that’s exactly what the Channel Upgrade Project is,” Mr Harper said.

“The Port of Townsville has a proud history stretching back more than 150-years and this project marks an exciting development that will underpin its importance as one our state’s key trading ports.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Channel Upgrade demonstrated the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to backing job creating infrastructure projects

“The Palaszczuk Government has a $46 billion infrastructure program for Queensland that is supporting 38,000 jobs in this year alone,” Mr Bailey said.

“That’s helped us to create almost 192,000 jobs for the Queensland economy since January 2015, and I look forward to seeing the job-boosting benefits from this project support the people and businesses of North Queensland.”

Port of Townsville Limited Chief Executive Officer, Ranee Crosby, said more than 600,000 tonnes of core and armour rock will be required over the next 12 months for the construction of the rock wall.

Holcim will play a significant role in that total delivery, with other suppliers to be announced in the near future.

“Local benefit is an important consideration in the awarding of contracts for the Channel Upgrade, and Holcim’s involvement will deliver that,” she said.

Holcim General Manager Queensland Aggregates, Peter Ambrose, said the company had the experience needed for a major project of this scale.

“Holcim is pleased to be awarded one of the rock supply contracts for the Port of Townsville’s Channel Upgrade project and continue our proud history of supplying high quality rock for vital marine infrastructure projects,” Mr Ambrose said.

“To meet the demands of this project, our local Roseneath quarry will grow by up to eight new team members and additional local suppliers and service companies will be engaged.”

Holcim’s trucking program will follow a Department of Transport and Main Roads approved route along the Flinders Highway and then onto the Port Access Road.

Ms Crosby said that there will a phased start to rock haulage that will occur between 6am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.

“We’re restricting movements to daylight hours to minimise any impact on residents,” Ms Crosby said.

“The Channel Upgrade is a vital project for the economic future of not only Townsville, but North Queensland as a whole.”

Project Background:

The $193 million Channel Upgrade has taken more than 10 years in planning, including Commonwealth and State Government environmental approvals.

It represents the biggest investment project in the Port’s history and involves widening of the shipping channel to accommodate ships of up to 300 metres in length.

Due to the narrowness of the channel, only ships of up to 238 metres can currently access the Port.

The Queensland and Commonwealth Governments have each committed $75 million for the project, with the Port of Townsville contributing $43 million.

Channel Upgrade Project timeline:

  • First half 2019 – Rock deliveries start for construction of 62ha Port Reclamation Area
  • Second half 2019 – Construction of Port Reclamation Area begins
  • First half 2020 – Channel widening begins – scheduled to be completed in less than four years
  • 2023 – Cruise, military and commercial ships of up to 300 metres will be able to access the Port

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