A Western Australian construction company has been awarded a tender to design and construct an operations facility at the port of Port Hedland.

Pindan Contracting will design and construct the $70.7 million Integrated Marine Operations Centre (IMOC), an operation facility with leading vessel traffic services systems and equipment.

The IMOC includes provision for the Port Harbour Master function, dredging management, port security, marine pilot briefing facilities and an improved incident control capability.

Acting Western Australia Transport Minister John Day said the centre would oversee an increasing number of vessels through the world’s largest bulk export port.

“The number of vessel movements through the Port Hedland port will be 6,000 a year when the IMOC is operational in 2018, which is more than five times the vessel volume when the existing control tower was built more than 45 years ago,” Mr Day said.

The Pilbara Ports Authority is also set to deliver a $120 million Channel Risk and Optimisation Project (CROP), which will reduce the risk of an obstruction in the Port Hedland shipping channel and allow port users to further optimise tonnages on their vessels.

The two-year project involves the creation of a new emergency passing lane, extension of a deep water refuge zone and use of existing deeper depths along the tidally constrained 42km channel.

The project will also optimise the use of the channel for the benefit of port users, with an extension to sailing windows, creating larger separations between departing vessels in a convoy, or potentially allowing an additional vessel to depart on the tidal window.

On-site works are expected to begin by the end of 2016.

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