New Zealand-based Heron Construction Company had won a dredging tender to carry out channel-widening work at City Bend as part of a $6 million outlay in the Port of Geelong.
Work is expected to begin mid-year and take about two months to complete.
This widening of the channel at City Bend is a key part in for the government to increase channel capacity as the port heads towards a forecasted doubling of trade by 2030.
More than 650 ships are forecast to visit Geelong’s port this financial year. A record 13.2 million tonnes of cargo valued at about $7.6 billion passed through the port last year.
The contract has been awarded after a comprehensive tender and regulatory approval process. The project must comply with a strict Environmental Management Plan, the government said.
Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA) chief executive officer captain Peter McGovern said the VRCA has also appointed specialist maritime contractor Waterway Constructions, based in Williamstown, to relocate navigation beacons at the dredging site before work begins.
“The contract includes maintenance and storage of the relocated state-of-the-art beacons and the placing of temporary beacons at City Bend while dredging occurs,” captain McGovern said.
The VRCA, in consultation with the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, has carried out a series of studies in the past few years to ensure its channels network can meet future changes including a trend towards bigger ships that service the port’s key trades and increased vessel numbers.