The South Australian Government approved of a widening of the main shipping channel at Flinders Ports.
The Flinders Ports Development Application now approved by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure is for a widening of the channel at Outer Harbor by 40m.
Flinders Port Holdings welcoming the news as a positive and progressive move for the state’s economy and the national standing of its port facilities.
The Government’s stamp of approval for the channel widening follows the Development Application lodged in July 2017 by Flinders Ports, South Australia’s leading port owner and operator.
Flinders Ports Chief Executive Officer, Mr Stewart Lammin, said the Government go-ahead had eliminated a potential cloud hanging over the import and export industry that contributes so greatly to South Australia’s economy.
“This is a safeguarding decision that returns SA and its port operations to a much more competitive footing with its interstate counterparts which, without our channel widening, were in a prime position to rob the state of a strengthening exports and imports industry,” Mr Lammin said.
“Adelaide is the only capital city in Australia that has not graduated to port facilities that can accommodate today’s larger commercial vessels.
“Without widening the channel to accommodate these new larger vessels, containerised trade and cruise shipping could omit Adelaide from their shipping calls.”
Mr Lammin said that for safety reasons, Flinders Ports has only been able to accommodate a limited number of the larger ships (up to 43m width) and with stringent operating conditions, which causes significant operational disruption and is unsustainable for the future.
“The forecast is for a further increase in vessel size (width increase to 49m) which the existing channel cannot accommodate. The 40m widening will enable safe passage for this size vessel,” Mr Lammin said.
The new Flinders Ports Project – now expected to be underway early next year – involves removing 1.55 million cubic metres of material from the shipping channel and placing it 30km offshore.
That volume is approximately half the amount of material that was removed from Outer Harbor in a previous Channel Deepening project undertaken in 2005.
Mr Lammin said Flinders Ports holds an Environmental Certified Systems ISO 14001 certification and holds its’ environmental responsibility of utmost importance.
Testing has confirmed the dredge material is not contaminated and meets national standards for placement at sea.
A comprehensive Dredge Management Plan will be developed and implemented to provide a clear plan for the monitoring and management of potential dredging impacts. This plan will be developed in conjunction with, and approved by, the EPA prior to the works being carried out.
“As custodians of the Port River and the shipping channel, we are acutely aware of the need to preserve our marine environments, and this is something that Finders Ports takes extremely seriously,” Mr Lammin said.