Work is set to begin on the final stage of the $120 million Channel Risk and Optimization Project (CROP) at the Port of Port Hedland in April, with a dredging company appointed to undertake the work, reports the Government of Western Australia.
According to the government officials, the project will deliver a refuge zone and an emergency passing lane to the 42 kilometer unidirectional shipping channel, as well as remove high spots in the outer section of the channel to optimize navigable depths.
Dredging of the refuge zone was completed in late 2018, and international dredging company Jan De Nul Pty Ltd will remove remaining high spots in the passing lane and channel to complete the project.
The project has been undertaken in stages in conjunction with annual maintenance dredging campaigns, and this final stage is due to begin in April 2019.
Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan commented: “The safety of staff, contractors and port users is an absolute priority, and the CROP will improve safety for vessels transiting the narrow, unidirectional channel. The CROP will ensure more efficient vessel access to the tidally restricted port, improving the service for all port users and supporting trade, industry and jobs in the Pilbara.”
Users at the Port of Port Hedland have already begun to benefit from completed phases of the CROP, with the final works expected to be completed in June 2019.
The CROP is funded under the Port Improvement Rate (PIR), a temporary levy charged on vessels entering and exiting the Port of Port Hedland to fund capital improvements. The other PIR projects are the Integrated Marine Operations Center and the Channel Marker Replacement Program.