Federal cash for Townsville port expansion

McCormack foresees fewer truck trips along Bruce Highway

Federal cash for Townsville port expansion
Townsville’s port precinct


The federal government has agreed to match $75 million in Queensland government funding towards channel works for the Townsville Port Expansion project.

Federal infrastructure and transport minister Michael McCormack predicts the works, which will allow larger commercial ships to use the port, will have a hefty impact on trucking along the Bruce Highway once the full expansion in complete.

"More than doubling the size of container ships which can enter the port will allow for goods imported and exported and maximise the capacity of existing infrastructure," McCormack states.

"This will mean reductions in the costs of imported goods on the table in Townsville, and remove up to 8,230 B-double trucks per year of the roads between Brisbane and Townsville and reduce congestion on our roads and improve safety."

Read about Queensland’s request for the project’s funding, here

ATN has confirmed these figures are based on the Townsville Port Expansion Project: Channel Capacity Upgrade Business Case, approved by the relevant Queensland ministers and available for public viewing here

The Business Case says an extra 25,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units of containers) would come through, though how that figure is obtained is unclear.

That document also predicts "transit time savings of freight for customers in North Queensland of about 17 hours per leg".

The cash is a diversion of part of the $250 million in City Deal funding for Townsville.

A spokesperson for the Minister told ATN that the project will help ensure the larger vessels that may otherwise bypass Townsville can be accommodated, including cruise and container ships.

"Improving the efficiency and productivity of our ports is also one of the critical components being considered in the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy," they said.

POTL, which will fund $43 million of the bill, says the Commonwealth cash means the channel widening can go ahead.

CEO Ranee Crosby sees  the channel widening as essential for port growth," ensuring goods produced in the region can get access to the Asia-Pacific and beyond, and that the everyday items people buy like food, clothes and electrical goods find their way onto retail shelves in North Queensland". 

"Ships are getting bigger, making channel widening vital.  Bigger ships coming to Townsville will mean lower freight costs, better connectivity to global markets, as well as allowing larger cruise ships to visit the city, which will further boost cruise tourism in the region," Crosby adds.

"After more than 10 years in the planning, our team is ready to start delivering the biggest investment project in our history."


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