Project Schedule

The Business Case

As one of four Priority Ports under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, Townsville Port is an essential component of the State’s transport network, connecting communities, regions and industry.

The $193 million Channel Capacity Upgrade Project, which is Stage 1 of the Townsville Port Expansion project, is critical for the future growth, competitiveness and resilience of North Queensland. It also delivers on the first major commitment under the Port City initiative of the Townsville City Deal.

The Business Case Executive Summary outlines the direct and indirect benefits of widening the existing navigational channels with a goal of ensuring growth of trade and maximising the efficiency of existing port infrastructure.

Channel widening will provide the safest, most cost effective and environmentally sustainable solution for meeting the freight and supply chain requirements of North Queensland.

Channel Upgrade Overview

The Channel Upgrade will be delivered over a period of six years from 2018 to 2023. Under the deliver schedule, it will create 120 FTE jobs in Townsville during construction and support 245 FTE jobs in Queensland.

Several principles were established to guide the procurement and delivery methodology for the project including:

  • Minimise disruption to commercial shipping in the channel and harbour
  • Maximise flexibility of works delivery for weather events (eg. cyclones) over the duration of construction
  • Ensure construction works are aligned with environmental approvals and conditions across the Port Expansion Project AEIS and quarry approvals
  • Maximise whole of life asset cost

The Channel Upgrade project will take about 5 years in total. The first year will be preparation works rock supply and reclamation area, with capital dredging commencing after that.

More than 50% of the dredging work will be carried out near the port, in the Inner Platypus Channel area. This section of dredging will take about two years. 25% or approximately 12 months of dredging work will be in Outer Platypus Channel, with the remaining six months of work in the Sea Channel.

Capital Dredging

Most of the capital dredging (about 80%) will be carried out using a mechanical dredge. A mechanical dredge is an excavator (like you would see on a land-based building site) which sits on top of a barge. The mechanical dredge is an excavator mounted onto a pontoon which digs material from the sea bed and puts it onto a waiting barge. The barge then moves the material to the reclamation area to the east of the Port.

The use of an excavator enables solid and compact material to be removed from the seabed which is transported by barge to the port reclamation area. Dredging using a mechanical in some circumstances may be slower than other types of dredgers, however, it provides the best environmental outcomes for Cleveland Bay.

All of the capital dredge material removed during the Channel Capacity Upgrade Project is beneficially reused. 

All capital dredge material will be moved to the Port Reclamation Area to create more land for the Port’s future developments. This re-use of the capital dredge material is in accordance with the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 and Australia’s UNESCO 2050 commitments.

Mechanical Dredge example

Capital Dredge in Reclamation Area

Delivery Schedule

A delivery model with the Port of Townsville as the Principal Contractor is preferred (direct engagement method), due to the specific nature of the major components of work. The delivery methodology has been independently reviewed to verify that the preferred methodology is viable, the selection of this methodology is appropriate, and the risk treatment and risk allocation have been comprehensively assessed.

Community and Stakeholder Engagement Plan

As per the conditions in the Coordinator General's evaluation, a Community and Stakeholder Engagement Plan (CSEP) has been developed...

Community is made up of the people who live, work, visit or operate in the Port of Townsville and greater region. Community Engagement is the process through which the community are informed about and/or invited to contribute, through consultation or involvement, to proposals or policy changes relating to Channel Upgrade.


The Channel Upgrade CSEP will ensure that:
• The Port has the opportunity to consider the input of a wide range of community members before making decisions;
• Community members are given the opportunity to contribute to the planning and development process.

The plan will:
• Establish a standard process for community engagement;
• Ensure that the process is implemented by the port and external consultants employed by the port;
• Ensure that inclusive and efficient consultation is undertaken at all times;
• Ensure that the community is kept informed of decisions emanating from community engagement. 

 A copy of the CSEP is available for download below.



For Further Information call Toll Free

1800 531 561


Located 1,360 kilometres north of Brisbane, The Port of Townsville is a world-class gateway for trade and investment.