Today the Port of Bundaberg welcomed the arrival of the largest bulk sugar carrier, MV Lake Arafura, since the January 2013 flood events.
MV Lake Arafura will load 20,000 tonnes of bulk raw sugar while at port on Monday 13 January 2014. Prior to the ship’s arrival, three emergency dredging projects were undertaken, since the catastrophic floods, to restore port navigation depths.
The final dredging project was completed on Friday 13 December 2013, with the cutter suction dredger “Nu Endeavour” completing its dredging of the inner reaches of the channel, swing basin and sugar berth.
These dredge works have improved clearance depths within the inner reaches of the channel and the middle reach, from 6.5 metres above the Lowest Astronomical Tide to 8.5 metres, and have improved clearance depths within the full area of the swing basin from 4.1 metres to 6.8 metres.
Previously, shipping was restricted to a temporary swing basin area with a maximum diameter of 290 metres, but this area now been restored to its full design diameter of 320m metres.
As a result of this dredging, the Regional Harbour Master has increased the maximum ship length of vessels that can enter the port from 160 metres to 180 metres, subject to their meeting certain requirements.
The previous 25 day dredging campaign by trailer suction hopper dredger (TSHD) Brisbane in August/September 2013 removed approximately 290,000m$ from the sea reach. Depths in this area were improved significantly, from a clearance depth of 3.4 metres after the flood to a current clearance depth of 7.5 metres.
GPC expects to achieve clearance to 8 metres following further works next month. Restoration dredging works to date have been successful, with around 900,000m$ of material removed from the Port of Bundaberg.
These works have been achieved with funding made available by the State and Federal Governments under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
QSL (Queensland Sugar Limited) General Manager Operations, Damian Ziebarth, thanked the State and Federal Governments for their support of the Queensland sugar industry.
“On behalf of QSL, I would like to thank the State and Federal Governments for ensuring the Bundaberg port was brought back to full operation and the urgency under which this work was undertaken. We would also like to thank GPC for their management of the project,” Mr Ziebarth said. “It is important that we are able to bring in large international bound ships to transport sugar to our customers, especially as we prepare to make room for this year’s harvest.”
Gladstone Ports Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Craig Doyle said GPC is pleased to have achieved this significant milestone and to re-open the port to large vessels.
“We look forward to the Port of Bundaberg being fully operational once again and seeing a greater volume of trade through the port.”
Press Release, January 13, 2014