WORK is to begin on the final stage of the $120m Channel Risk and Optimisation Project (CROP) at Port Hedland in April, with a dredging company appointed to undertake the work.

The project will add a refuge zone and an emergency passing lane to the port’s 42-kilometre unidirectional shipping channel, as well as remove high spots in the outer section of the channel to optimise navigable depths.

Dredging of the refuge zone was completed late last year and dredging company Jan De Nul has been contracted to remove the remaining high spots in the passing lane and the channel to complete the project.

The CROP has been undertaken in stages in conjunction with annual maintenance dredging campaigns.


Western Australia ports minister Alannah MacTiernan said the project would bring tangible benefits to port users in addressing channel risk and enhancing safe and efficient shipping.

“The safety of staff, contractors and port users is an absolute priority, and the CROP will improve safety for vessels transiting the narrow, unidirectional channel,” she said.

“The CROP will ensure more efficient vessel access to the tidally restricted port, improving the service for all port users and supporting trade, industry and jobs in the Pilbara.”

The CROP is funded under the Port Improvement Rate (PIR), a temporary levy charged on vessels entering and exiting Port Hedland to fund capital improvements.

The other PIR projects are the Integrated Marine Operations Centre and the Channel Marker Replacement Program.

The CROP is slated to be complete in June 2019.