2016 Australian port or terminal of the year


Berth 4 Upgrade

The Port of Townsville is a vital and strategic trading port for North Queensland and is Northern Australia's largest general cargo and container port. The Townsville Port is a designated "priority port" under the Queensland Government's Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015.

Berth 4 Before Upgrade Works
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Berth 4 Before Upgrade Works

Berth 4 after Upgrade Works
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Berth 4 was previously used mainly for cement imports via a dedicated pipeline to an off-berth storage facility, as well as some general cargo and live cattle export activity.

The upgrade to Berth 4 (and associated land side infrastructure) will increase capacity at the Port of Townsville to assist in accommodating projected trade growth. The upgrade project will also  improve the efficiency of container handling operations and result in better cargo movement performance through the use of modern handling equipment and improved intermodal transfer (of cargo) to road and rail.

The project is a $40.7 million investment and is supporting around 100 jobs during the construction phase. 

The project tender was awarded to Townsville business CivilPlus Constructions in February 2016 and the construction phase is now underway. The upgraded facility is expected to be ready for operations late in 2017. 

Project Detail

  • The project design focuses on the maximisation of container and general cargo handling in accordance with the Townsville Port's expansion strategy.
  • The deck level on Berth 4 will be raised to become level with Berth 3, and the quay line will be extended to allow Berths 2, 3 and 4 to become one continuous length. This means that vessels can be positioned anywhere along the quay line to maximise utilisation. 
  • The length of Berth 4 will be extended from 200 to 241 metres.
  • The berth pocket will be deepened to 12.2 metres (LAT) to accommodate larger vessels.

Upgrade Project Schedule

Berth 4 is s currently closed to all vessels except Cement Australia ships carrying cement and IXOM vessels carrying caustic soda. Temporary fenders have been installed on Berth 4 (see image below) and construction of the new wharf deck is underway.

Frequently Asked Questions - Port Users

What shipping/cargo is permitted during the Berth 4 upgrade?
Cement and caustic soda; these two trades account for approximately 60% of trade over this berth.

How long will it take for the temporary fenders to be installed at Berth 4?
The temporary fenders have been installed on Berth 4.

How will Berth 4 Cargo Terminal access control be maintained during construction?
Access control will be maintained for all vessels (whether or not a Land side Restricted Zone is declared) which will be established at the bottom of the gangway. It will also be utilised where necessary when cargo is being worked through the area. Access control for cargo movements through the wharf backing area will be maintained at the Berth 3/4 gate as per current arrangements.

Will the Berth 4 backing lands be accessible during the shutdown?
The backing lands will only be available on request as the contractor will have cranes, trucks and materials on site for the upgrade work.  POTL will accommodate requests to transit project cargo or any item that needs special consideration wherever possible.  For general cargo, alternative routes will need to be looked at during this period.

How will bulk cement be discharged during the upgrade?
Cement Australia has confirmed they will only use vessels that have their own crane for holding up cargo hoses; some additional length/s of hose  may be required. POTL advises that in the event of an emergency, the port can accommodate a crane on the berth for a cement vessel should one of the geared vessels suffer any breakdown. On average the port receives a cement vessel every two weeks.

Will there be any low flash allowed on a tanker discharging caustic soda?
If for any reason a vessel is planned to arrive with slops or cargo that are deemed low flash, space for a fire truck and accompanying accommodation/toilet on or near the berth may be able to be provided.  The fire truck will also be able to access the vessel noting the vessel will be approximately 12m off the existing quayline.  A possible solution to be investigated may be for a tug to be used as the standby firetruck if QFRS are on board.

How will vessels be accessed by shore personnel?
Vessel access will be by shore gangway installed by the contractor. The gangway will sit on the wharf and be lifted on by the contractor at berthing.  For caustic soda vessels there will be a second gangway that will also carry the product line. Access control requirements will need to be met at this point.

How long will the Berth 4 upgrade take?
Approximately 18 months with a completion date of end 2017.

Will there be congestion at the port?
Whenever a berth is removed from general circulation there will always be an increase of trade over other berths. POTL has sought to minimise impacts by making arrangements for cement and caustic soda to continue using Berth 4 throughout the upgrade. Congestion can be minimised with early notification of vessels via our berth application system.  POTL will continue to work with stakeholders to reduce impacts to shipping.

Where will project and/or other cargo be stored that previously went over Berth 4?
There are a host of port backing lands where cargoes can be received such as Berth 10, Magazine Hill, and the Centenary Loop; dependent on cargo size, weights and receiver readiness. Both Stevedores in the port also have storage facilities. 

What are trucking arrangements when two vessels are using Berth 3 at the same time?
The traffic flow for trucking has been carefully reviewed by NSS and a plan exists for two vessels with two different truck paths that should alleviate potential bottlenecks shore-side for discharge operations. For more information please contact Mitchell Smith (NSS) on +617 4722 4806.

Who do I contact should I have any general questions?

Jim Hampton – Trade & Business Development
T: +617 4781 1514
M: 0437 844 816
Martin Gledhill, Project Manager - Berth 4
T: +617 4781 1612
M: 0418 182 348

Sharon Hoops - Public Relations Executive
T: +617 4781 1551