Australia’s busiest container port, Port of Melbourne, plans to extend Webb Dock East (WDE) Berth 4/5, allowing a greater number of ships, as well as larger vessels, to berth at the port.
The project aims to deliver benefits for the port-related supply chain, and is part of a 30-year, $1.5 billion port development strategy that maps out an extensive investment program designed to ensure that Melbourne’s ports can service the needs of all Victorians.
WDE has a berth length of 660m, enabling two vessels of 300m to be berthed concurrently. However, there has been an increasing number of vessels longer than 300m calling at the Port of Melbourne, leaving the terminal only able to service a single vessel.
Port of Melbourne CEO, Brendan Bourke, said the trend of receiving vessels longer than 300m is likely to continue.
“Restoring operating capacity and achieving greater efficiency at the terminal will help to drive down costs across the port-related supply chain for trade activity into and out of Melbourne, which accounts for more than one-third of the nation’s container trade,” Mr Bourke said.
“This is good news for our exporters and agricultural producers given that the works ultimately will allow goods to move more quickly through the port to market, supporting growth and Victoria’s export economy.”
The extension project will include the removal of a redundant concrete structure (known as “the knuckle”) at Webb Dock East Berth 4/5. Removal will extend the berth length by 71 metres to give a new berth length of 731 metres. This removal will restore Webb Dock East to a two-berth terminal in line with the original design objective.
The project will:
- Provide flexibility for Webb Dock East to operate across two berths, as was always intended
- Restore operational capacity in response to the number of large vessels coming into the port
- Ensure the Port of Melbourne continues to deliver optimum benefit for users
Mr Bourke said, “In delivering this project we are responding directly to industry changes and the deployment of larger container vessels into the Australian market.”
The project is expected to take up to two years to complete.