Port of Melbourne (PoM) has awarded the contract for works at Webb Dock East – to reduce congestion, improve efficiency and accommodate larger ships.

The contract for the works has been awarded to Fitzgerald Constructions Australia, with completion scheduled for Q3, CY2023. 

The project at Australia’s largest container and general cargo port involves demolishing a redundant section of concrete and extending the quay line by 71m. 

Port of Melbourne CEO, Saul Cannon, said the project is an important part of a 30-year investment strategy, designed to create a more efficient and productive port that helps to strengthen Victoria’s economy.

“Now more than ever, we need to make sure we get essential goods delivered to hospitals, businesses, schools and homes,” Mr Cannon said. 

“We are seeing a rising number of larger vessels calling at the port and our current infrastructure at Webb Dock East at times does not allow for two ships to berth at the same time. For example, this project will enable two larger vessels to berth at the same time at this part of the port, reducing wait times for the ships to dock.”

Webb Dock East was designed as a two berth terminal, so this project will restore Webb Dock East’s intended design capacity. 

“It’s essential that we ensure our infrastructure responds to global trends, and these works at Webb Dock East do that. We’re meeting present needs and also looking to the future to make the right investments on behalf of the Victorian community,” Mr Cannon said. 

Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) CEO, Tim Vancampen, said the investment from the Port of Melbourne is critical in optimising current assets to meet the demands of the industry and reduce overall delays and costs. 

VICT is also investing to boost efficiency at Webb Dock East. 

“To complement PoM’s investment, VICT will also be committing $150 million in infrastructure to support the market with faster vessel turn around and additional slots for our landside customers,” Mr Vancampen said. 

“The $150 million (in this phase) out of a total new investment of $235 million by VICT will include two additional Ship to Shore Cranes (STS), six Auto Container Carriers (ACC) and six Auto Stacking Cranes (ASC), bringing the total STS cranes to seven,” Mr Vancampen said.

“The additional infrastructure is expected to be operational in Q3 CY2023.”

The Webb Dock East project is the third of nine projects that form the 2050 Port Development Strategy – a blueprint for ensuring the port stands ready to accommodate the needs of a growing city and continues to make a major contribution to Victoria’s social and economic prosperity. 

“Port of Melbourne delivers around $6 billion in economic benefits to Victoria each year. It’s critical we have the right infrastructure in place to support the economy. What’s good for the port, is good for Victoria, Tasmania and southeast Australia,” Mr Cannon said. 

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