PORT of Newcastle, Australia’s third largest port, celebrated an impressive 160 years of continuous dredging, maintaining safe and vital operations as the largest coal export port in the world.

Long gone are the days of 1859, when the port began using dredging ladders to remove mud, sand, silt and rocks from the channels.

Today, continuous dredging in the Port of Newcastle relies on the 70-metre David Allan dredger, which works seven days a week to manage thousands of ships’ safe passage into and out of the port yearly.


Port of Newcastle dredge manager Calvin Grills described the importance of celebrating maintenance dredging.

“This international trade in steel, coal, fuels, grains and other important cargoes has only been possible because the channel has been kept clear, enabling New South Wales businesses to be globally-competitive,” Mr Grills said.

For 12-hours a day, the David Allan maintains a channel depth of 15.2 metres down a 9km stretch, beginning from the breakwalls to the Kooragang 10 berth in the Hunter River’s South Arm.

The dredging process is essential to port and trade function as it maintains the keel clearance and easy passage of vessels with deep drafts through the channel.