Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) will start detailed work over the next 12 months on the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the duplication of the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channels.
Chief Executive Officer, Craig Doyle, emphasized that whilst GPC is starting to work towards the preparation of an EIS, there is no immediate need to commence dredging any time in the near future.
“Based on the current and predicted shipping demand over the next five years from existing and soon to be completed industries within the Gladstone region, there is no immediate requirement for any physical capital dredging to take place.
“However, due to the long lead-in time for pre-dredging tasks, including environmental baseline data collection, impact assessment, government approval processes, detailed design and dredge contractor procurement, we believe it is necessary to undertake the preparation of the Channel Duplication Project EIS over the next one-and-a-half to two years,” Mr Doyle said.
In light of the potential anticipated growth of the Port of Gladstone, GPC has carried out channel capacity studies to better understand the adequacy of the port’s existing and future shipping channels.
The most recent channel capacity study indicated that the future ability of the port to accommodate an increase in shipping traffic is limited by the lack of passing capacity, as it is currently a one-way channel.
To facilitate the potential increase in port throughput into the future and to mitigate the risks caused by additional vessels utilizing the port’s shipping channels, an overriding need exists to duplicate the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channels at some point in the future, and potentially other port shipping channels in the long-term.
Without the duplication of the Gatcombe and Golding Cutting Channels, the ability of the port to accommodate potential future trade commitments will be significantly limited, hindering the economic potential of the region.
A ‘no-action’ option would also result in potential shipping delays, safety risks and other issues associated with increased congestion of existing shipping channels. Mr Doyle said that GPC is focused on implementing lessons learned from previous port development projects and keeping the community and stakeholders updated on the project’s progress.
“As we have stated previously, we have taken key learnings from the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project and the Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone and we are committed to incorporating these learnings into future projects, and working alongside State and Federal Government to implement those recommendations from the review pertaining to GPC.”