Fremantle Ports has embarked on its biggest infrastructure project for decades with the $250 million deepening of the inner habour to cater for bigger ships.
Fremantle Ports has embarked on its biggest infrastructure project for decades with the $250 million deepening of the inner habour to cater for larger ships.
The announcement is below:
Fremantle Ports has embarked on its biggest infrastructure project for decades with the deepening of the Inner Harbour to cater for bigger ships.
The deepening and associated works, costing about $250million, will enable the port to accommodate the larger generation of freight ships beginning to call and continue the efficient handling Western Australia's container trade.
Transport Minister Simon O'Brien said the deepening was essential to ensure Fremantle Inner Harbour had sufficient depth to enable the bigger ships to access the port at full cargo capacity.
"There has been a huge increase in the average size of container ships visiting Fremantle over the past 15 years. Some of the bigger ships, for example: the G Class and post Panamax vessels of about 65,000 gross tonnes, are currently unable to come in fully laden," he said.
"Fremantle Port handles almost all of WA's container trade and is critically important to the State's economic well being.
"The port's container trade, although impacted by the world economic downturn, has grown by an average of about 9.5 per cent annually since the early 1990s.
The Minister said in overall terms in 2008-09, Fremantle Port handled 26.6 million mass tonnes of cargo. There were 1,830 ship visits and the value of trade through the port was almost $26billion.
"The deepening of the Inner Harbour will take the maximum draft capability from its current 12.8 metres to 14 metres," he said.
"By progressing this important infrastructure project we have made sure that larger vessels continue to call and this will benefit importers and exporters.
"Failure to deepen would make Fremantle the shallowest container port in the country, leading inevitably to by-passing by the larger ships.
"We cannot afford to let that happen."
The Minister said associated with the deepening of the Inner Harbour and approach channels was the reconstruction of Berth 10, currently well underway on North Quay.
"This reconstruction will create an additional 180 metres of quay length for container shipping," he said.
The works also involve strengthening the existing container berths on North Quay, and construction of a seawall at Rous Head to contain dredged material from the harbour.
"As well as providing for deeper draft ships and extending container handling capacity, the project will create an additional 27 hectares of land at Rous Head for port-related purposes."
"Managing the deepening and associated works in an environmentally careful way is a top priority."
Work on the new seawall will begin this month in preparation for the harbour and channel deepening. All works associated with the deepening, reclamation and berth works are expected to be completed by the end of 2010.
"This project by the State ensures that Fremantle remains an efficient, modern working port able to handle current and future vessel requirements and trade needs."