The Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) has awarded the civil and maritime design contracts for the $1.6 billion redevelopment of Webb Dock, signaling significant progress for the project announced by the Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu and Minister for Ports Dr. Denis Napthine in April this year.
The Project will reconfigure and redevelop Webb Dock, returning it to its original role as an international container handling facility. This new container handling terminal will be capable of handling the equivalent of at least one million containers per annum. Other works around the Webb Dock precinct include additional screening and landscaping, dock deepening, minor modifications and improvements to nearby parklands, provision for on-site empty container stacking at Webb Dock and construction of noise walls to reduce the impacts of the operations on nearby communities.
Aurecon will be responsible for the civil works portion of the project, which includes detailed design of internal roads, interface buffers, site preparation work and services infrastructure. Arup will provide maritime engineering consulting services for the project’s extensive maritime works. This includes re-engineering the existing wharves at Webb Dock East, dredging and the design of a new 920 metre wharf for the port’s automotive trade which will be consolidated into a new world class facility at Webb Dock West.
The Port of Melbourne is intimately linked to the history and development of the city itself. The Port has remained Victoria’s link to global shipping routes since the inception of the City of Melbourne over 180 years ago. Technological advances and transformations since the days of sail – and from the introduction of containerisation more than 40 years ago – have seen the Port evolve into Australia’s busiest freight hub.
Today, it provides a vital link for business, industry and agriculture across Australia’s southeast. Indirectly supporting more than 15,000 jobs and annually handling in excess of $82 billion dollars in imports and exports. In the 2011-12 financial year, container trade at the Port reached an nationwide record 2.58 million containers, an average of about 7,000 containers every day.
By 2025, Port of Melbourne is predicted to be handling about 5 million containers a year.
PoMC chief exectuive officer, Stephen Bradford is keen to point out, however, that it is more than just a place for ships to load and unload.
“It’s a vital link in a complex supply chain that creates jobs and drives the state’s economic growth,” he said. “Both the Government and the Port of Melbourne Corporation are committed to ensuring a positive future for local businesses, jobs and the wellbeing of the environment and neighbouring communities. This commitment is demonstrated not only in our guarantee of openness and transparency, but also in the fact that some parts of this Project are deliberately not specified in detail therefore enabling residents, business, port users and the wider community the opportunity of helping to shape the future of the Port.”
Scheduled for completion in 2016, the project will directly create around 700 full-time jobs and will eventually provide the capacity needed to satisfy short to medium-term trade demands while providing opportunities for improved productivity across the Port and a strong foundation for the state’s long term trading future.
By Justin McGar