DREDGING has started at Port Adelaide as part of the $80m project to widen the Outer Harbour shipping channel and swing basin.

The project, bankrolled by Flinders Ports, means Port Adelaide will be able to accommodate big cruise ships and the larger and more efficient ‘post-panamax’ container ships.

Flinders Ports’ chief executive Stewart Lammin said channel widening would underpin the port’s large contribution to the state’s economy.

“Once this project is completed in September, we will be on an equal footing with ports around Australia and the globe,” Mr Lammin said.

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“Post-panamax container ships are increasingly dominating global containerised cargo transport. This project is essential to Adelaide remaining competitive with other Australian ports, which can already cater for these vessels.

“We will also be able to accommodate some of the world’s largest cruise ships, which will provide a significant boost for our tourism sector.”

State trade minister David Ridgway said the project would strengthen South Australia’s trade and tourism industries and ensure the state is globally competitive.

“Ultimately, this project will increase the State’s export capacity and capability which will have enormous positive flow-on benefits for local business and jobs,” Mr Ridgway said.

“For a state like ours we rely on global trade for much of our prosperity and having the ability to attract some of the world’s largest vessels – such as the post-panamax and larger cruise liners – is fantastic news for South Australia.”

South Australian trade Minister David Ridgway (left) and Flinders Ports CEO Stewart Lammin. Credit: Flinders Ports

Mr Lammin said significant preparatory work and consultation had been done before project commencement to minimise the environmental impact.

“We have been working with representatives of the EPA, Primary Industries and Regions SA and the South Australian Research and Development Institute, to identify any risks and establish strategies and protocols for addressing them,” he said.

“Central to that is the use of state-of-the-art equipment by world-leading dredge contractor, Boskalis, to minimise turbidity, loss of seagrass and any impact on fauna, adherence to an agreed seasonal window and the imposition of comprehensive risk management protocols.

“Our project team will use real time monitoring throughout the project to monitor turbidity levels and water quality, and strict measures are in place to alter or suspend dredging should set trigger limits be exceeded.”

South Australian exports through the port exceed $8bn annually, according to management, and imports about $6.5bn.

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