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Page last updated on 29-03-2023.


The Port of Townsville is northern Australia’s largest container and automotive port, and a growing cruise port, but at just 92 metres wide, the shipping channel is one of the narrowest in the country. Currently vessels up to 238 metres in length can safely access the port. Ships are getting larger, so the Port needs to adapt to service the needs of North Queensland's mining, Defence, agriculture, construction, vehicle and tourism industries into the future.

The $1.6 billion Port Expansion Project (PEP) is a long-term development plan for the port. It includes capital dredging for channel widening, land reclamation to develop a new outer harbour, wharves, and associated infrastructure. 

Stage one of the Port Expansion Project is the $251 million Channel Upgrade project which will deliver a wider shipping channel and a 62 hectare port reclamation area.

The shipping channel will be widened from 92 metres to 180 metres at the inshore (Port) end, then taper to 120 metres at the seaward end. The channel needs to be wider at the inshore end, as this is where wind and currents have the greatest impact on a vessel’s manoeuvrability.

All capital dredge material will be brought back to land for beneficial reuse in the new reclamation area, in accordance with the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 and Australia's UNESCO 2050 commitments.

The wider shipping channel will allow vessels up to 300 metres in length to safely access the Port, instead of bypassing Townsville.


Environmental Assessment Process

The Port Expansion Project has been through rigorous environment impact assessments by both the Queensland and Australian Governments in accordance with legislation over the course of a decade before it was granted approval.

This provides certainty that the environmental impacts have been fully considered and will be controlled through conditions on development.

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) for the Port Expansion Project was assessed and approved with conditions by the Australian Government on 5 February, 2018.

Additional Information to the Environmental Impact Statement

A public consultation period seeking submissions on the EIS resulted in the Port preparing an Additional Information to the Environmental Impact Statement (AEIS) to clarify matters raised during the public consultation. The AEIS, dated October 2016, complements the existing EIS.

The $251 million Channel Upgrade project is a joint project of the Queensland and Australian Governments, and Port of Townsville, and forms part of the Townsville City Deal signed in December 2016.