EARTHWORKS at Port Spencer are due to start in coming months to kick off building of South Australia’s fourth deepwater grain port.
The Peninsula Ports project is in the capital-raising phase, and incoming CEO Greg Walters said the eastern Eyre Peninsula site was on track to receive grain from the 2021 harvest.
“We’ll start in the next few months with the blasting of rocks as part of the civil works,” Mr Walters said.
“Our plan is to be receiving grain at 2021 season.”
South Australian civil engineering and construction company Bardavcol will conduct initial earthworks, while Adelaide-based engineering and project-management company Wallbridge Gilbert Aztec is doing preliminary work on the causeway as the lead-in to the proposed deepwater jetty.
“The jetty design will be influenced by the ship-loading equipment we decide on.”
Port Spencer will be a grain-only port, and has an estimated cost of $200 million.
“Australian Grain Systems is providing the silos, and is currently in discussion with us around grain-handling equipment to be used.”
“When complete, Port Spencer will be one of two deepwater ports in the region enabling large panamax vessels carrying up to 80,000 tonnes of grain to be loaded efficiently, cost effectively and largely irrespective of weather conditions.
“The Port Spencer facility will also reintroduce grower ownership and control of critical grain supply infrastructure and deliver up to approximately $40 million in annual freight savings to Eyre Peninsula growers.
“Port Spencer is currently the only port offering local grain growers and the community the opportunity to invest in and be part of the port.
South Australia currently has three grain ports which can currently fully load a panamax — Port Giles, Port Lincoln and Adelaide’s Outer Harbour — and all are owned and operated by Viterra.
In December, Peninsula Ports’ parent FREE Eyre Limited said it was eyeing a March 2020 start for works at Port Spencer.
The recent commissioning of T-Ports’ Lucky Bay terminal north of the Port Spencer site has already augmented shipping options from Eyre Peninsula, and a further grain shipping alternative may be created with the proposed Iron Road multi-commodity port at Cape Hardy.