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Port of Melbourne completes major extension

Port of Melbourne completes major extension
Port of Melbourne completes major extension

The Port of Melbourne has successfully completed its Webb Dock East Extension project. The aim of the project is to reduce port congestion and allow the port to accommodate larger ships. Webb East is Australia’s first fully automated container terminal. 

The Webb Dock East Extension project sees the quay extended to 71 meters. Part of a 30-year investment strategy, stakeholders hope that this project will make the port more efficient and productive, while also assisting the Victorian economy. 

The Port of Melbourne is the country’s largest container and general cargo port. Now that the extension is complete, it will: 

  • Assist with operational capacity to accommodate larger ships.
  • Allow the flexibility to operate two berths. 

Webb Dock’s long history 

Operations commenced on the dock in the 1950s and was known as the River Entrance Dock. Its first operational activities were transporting cargo and motorists from Tasmania. The dock is now named after Melbourne Harbor Trust commissioner J.P. Webb (OBE). 

Today, Webb Dock is Australasia’s largest automotive terminal.   

Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) 

The terminal is Australia’s first fully automated international container terminal. In 2017, the terminal welcomed its first vessel. The facility delivers 33% capacity to the Port of Melbourne. 

In October 2023, the American Journal of Transportation reported the terminal received two new ship-to-shore cranes. The terminal also has automated car carriers. These run on diesel and are guided by 15,000 magnets in the ground. 

Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge 

This month, additional work began on the West Gate Bridge. The bridge is being widened from eight lanes to twelve. The project comes as a result of demand from the port and a growing population. About 200,000 vehicles use the West Gate Freeway daily, which often brings traffic to a standstill. 

Australia’s ports 

In November 2023, Ports Australia, which represents the country’s ports, announced Sydney Harbor would receive the world’s first fully renewable energy shore power. 

International freight platform SHIPHUB ranks Port of Melbourne as the country’s top port. It reports Melbourne’s port as one of the largest ports in the southern hemisphere. In 2003, Port of Melbourne was the first port in Australia to handle two million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) annually. 

SHIPHUB’s Australian port ranking: 

  1. Port of Melbourne. 
  2. Port of Sydney/Port Botany.
  3. Port of Brisbane. 
  4. Fremantle Port. 
  5. Darwin Port.

IBIS World reports there has been much investment in Australian ports in recent years due to facility expansion. This is as a result of more cargo moving through the country. 

Port of Melbourne, Port of Brisbane, Port of Sydney, and Port of Adelaide are among the country’s major ports. 

Here are some highlights of the port industry in Australia: 

  • More cargo volumes in recent years have meant more demand for cargo-handling services.
  • States that have ferry operations attract business.
  • Larger cargo volumes have boosted revenue growth.

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.

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