THE first round of maintenance dredging at Port of Mackay since 2013 is to begin next week.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said it was an important task.

“Making sure our ports and waters remain safe and navigable is vital to our region’s supply chain and its $17bn economy,” Ms Gilbert said.

“Projects like this add to the Palaszczuk Government’s major investments at our port, plus road projects like the $120 million Mackay Northern Access Upgrade as well as the Walkerston Bypass.”

NQBP chief executive Nicolas Fertin said maintenance dredging was important to ensure efficient navigable shipping depths.

“In the same way we maintain roads and rail lines for freight transport, we need to look after our port infrastructure to keep trade flowing,” Mr Fertin said.

“This was achieved despite the global impact of COVID-19, demonstrating the importance of the Port’s role in the Queensland economy supporting jobs and industry in the region.”

NQBP is to engage with key stakeholders including the Mackay Technical Advisory and Consultative Committee as the project progresses.

While the dredging is expected to have “a low impact” on port operations and community activities, Mr Fertin asked all those using the Mackay Marina to take extra care.

“The dredge vessel TSHD Brisbane and its support vessels have restricted manoeuvring capability,” he said.

“We urge people on the water to pay close attention to displayed warning flags and lights.”

The TSHD Brisbane is to make frequent return trips from the port to the offshore disposal location near Slade Island.