Why is Channel Widening Needed?
Over the past 40 years ship sizes have grown significantly and are continuing to get bigger. Townsville’s channel has not kept up with this growth, and is approximately half the width of access channels at other major ports.
When ships sail down the sea channel their course (or direction) can be affected by both the wind speed and current conditions in the ocean.
The channel needs to be much wider than the ship so that it has plenty of room either side to prevent it grounding. By widening the channel from 92 metres at the narrowest point to 180 metres, the size of ships that can access Townsville will increase from 238 metres to more than 300 metres.
Ships longer than 238 metres already bypass Townsville to pick up and drop off freight for North Queensland at capital city ports where they can fit.
By widening the channel to give larger ships access, existing berths will be used more, our economy will grow and there will be an increasing demand for more berths.