- Ports Australia has prepared this paper to provide factual information on key issues related to dredging in the Great Barrier Reef region.
2.0 THE NEED FOR DREDGING
- Dredging of shipping channels and berths is an essential to the safe and efficient operation of ports in the Great Barrier Reef region. Shipping channels are of equal importance to supply chains as are road and rail networks.
- The safe and efficient operation of shipping is essential in enabling import and export industries to operate and compete in global markets.
- The value of trade transiting through Queensland ports equates to approximately $50 billion p.a.
- Like land-based transport networks, channels need to be maintained and developed as trade grows.
2.1 Capital Dredging
- Required to create new or improve existing channels and berths. Periodic capital dredging has occurred at all Queensland ports in response to the ongoing global trend to move to larger ships to meet the economies of scale of modern competitive markets.
- For example, the Port of Gladstone has undergone major capital dredging programs approximately every 20-30 years as part of its growth as a major industrial port. This has required channels to be 55% deeper (10.4m to 16.1m) than they were in 1980 to allow access by modern ships.
- Certain lobby groups have grossly exaggerated the volume of proposed capital dredging that is likely to occur in the Great Barrier Reef region. They have included projects that were nothing more than concepts, those that have been cancelled and several which have been rejected.
Without capital dredging to support seaborne trade, Queensland would struggle to remain globally competitive or provide new opportunities for employment, industries, trades and agriculture.
Industrial action by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) against DP World Australia in support of their 2014 Enterprise Agreement claims has created severe disruptions across port facilities in Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle.
Ports Australia has welcomed the release of the joint Commonwealth-State Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan for public comment.
Australians’ enthusiasm for inner-city living threatens to have a significant impact on the efficiency of the nation’s major ports, a report has warned.
Ports Australia, the peak national industry organisation representing port authorities and corporations, has welcomed the Federal Government’s recognition that port access infrastructure is a key part of its plan to boost the national economy.