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Page last updated on 13-09-2021.
The Port of Townsville is northern Australia’s largest commercial 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 $232 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.
The wider shipping channel will allow vessels up to 300 metres in length to safely access the Port, instead of bypassing Townsville.
The $232 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.