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WORK on widening the outer harbour shipping channel and swing basin at Port Adelaide is set to proceed, following the issuing of a licence by the state Environment Protection Authority.

This project is seen as essential in underpinning the port’s ongoing effective operations.

Flinders Ports chief executive Stewart Lammin said the company was committed to minimising any 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,” Mr Lammin said.

“Central to that is the use of state-of-the-art equipment 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.”

The Department for Environment and Water has also approved a Native Vegetation Clearance permit to allow Flinders Ports to clear what it says is “a small amount of seagrass” as part of the expansion of the outer harbour channel.

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Flinders Ports has contracted international dredge contractor Boskalis to do the channel widening project.  Dredging is due to start in early June and should last about three months.

Mr Lammin said the channel widening program was necessary to ensure Port Adelaide’s continued global relevance.

The $80m project is to widen the shipping channel and swing basin to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships and the larger and ‘post panamax’ container ships.

The expanded channel is also expected to open Adelaide up to larger cruise ships and underpin a stronger tourism industry.

According to Flinders Ports, Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal supports more than 6000 jobs. South Australian exports through the port exceed $8bn annually with imports valued at about $6.5bn.

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