Port of Townsville Limited (POTL) has welcomed today’s announcement by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that the Government’s State Budget will allocate up to $75 million in funding for the Townsville Channel Capacity Upgrade Project.
The $193 million Channel Capacity Upgrade, which is Stage 1 of the $1.64 billion Townsville Port Expansion Project, will widen the shipping channels to accommodate larger ships.
POTL Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said that the project would future-proof the port by ensuring it remains competitive and viable for major shipping lines, as well as providing certainty for industry investment into the region.
“Being able to accommodate larger ships will have significant and far reaching benefits for Northern Australia; larger ships are more efficient, which means lower operating costs per unit, particularly for container and car ships," said Ms Crosby.
“By widening the channel North Queensland will be competitive for exporters and provide lower freight costs for importers."
"Townsville will also be able to attract larger cruise ships, providing a much needed boost
to the local tourism industry.”
POTL Chair Renita Garard said that today’s announcement was a huge milestone for the project and future trade opportunities for the Port of Townsville.
“Since 1864 the Port of Townsville has been the economic cornerstone of this region, supporting around 8,000 jobs,” said Ms Garard.
“It supplies a population of nearly 800,000 people with essential everyday goods, allows our farmers to export agricultural products, and mining company’s need the port to export minerals.
"Townsville Port is also a strategic port for Northern Australia’s Defence capability, and is enabling the city to become a genuine player in the booming cruise industry in North Queensland."
The Channel Widening Project will return $580 million in benefits to Queensland, providing the safest, most cost effective and environmentally sustainable solution for meeting the freight requirements of North Queensland.
Dredging work for channel widening could commence in 2018, subject to environmental approvals and final funding, meaning the region would begin to see larger ships visiting Townsville within two years. The Channel Widening Project will take up to six years in total with completion in 2023.
POTL has submitted an Environmental Impact Statement to State and Federal regulators for final assessment which has included comprehensive scientific assessments and consultation processes to address key issues, and controls to ensure the health of Cleveland Bay is safeguarded.
POTL has completed a Business Case for the Channel Capacity Upgrade which has assessed funding options. With the State Government’s $75 million funding commitment, POTL is now in a position to finalise full funding to ensure this vital project for North Queensland and Northern Australia proceeds.
Sharon Hoops │ Manager Corporate Affairs
T: 07 4781 1551 | M: 0413 212 058 firstname.lastname@example.org