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Hall Contracting has won the largest contract in Port of Townsville’s $232 million Channel Upgrade Project, with a package of works expected to employ 70 people.

The works include capital dredging to widen 14.9km of sea channels over two years and reclamation of 62ha of land through beneficial reuse of dredged material.

Hall Contracting is expected to begin capital dredging in May 2021.

The major contract follows the extensive work over the past 18-months to build a 2.2km rock perimeter wall to receive the material.

Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said Queensland-based Hall Contracting had partnered with Townsville’s Pacific Marine Group to offer extensive experience in dredging and reclamation.

They had committed to almost 100 per cent of this project being resourced from Queensland- based businesses, she said.

“Hall Contracting has presented the best offer to complete the works,” Ms Crosby said.

“Their strong commitment to local industry and First Nations people’s participation as well as employment and learning opportunities for tertiary students, apprentices and trainees presents significant opportunities for our region.

“Over the course of the project they will provide meaningful training across a range of vocations including vessel crew, marine engineers, diesel fitters, hydraulic fitters, boilermakers, earthmoving operators and dredge operators.”

Hall Contracting chief executive officer Cameron Hall said the company’s backhoe dredge Woomera, the largest Australian-owned dredge of its kind, would arrive in Townsville to commence works next year.

The channel upgrade project will widen the current shipping channel from 92m to 180m at the inshore (port) end, tapering to 120m wide in the sea channel, increasing the size of cargo, cruise and defence vessels able to access the Port of Townsville.

The Port has committed $17 million for environmental monitoring and management programs as part of the project, including those covering dolphins, turtles, seagrass, coral and shorebirds.

An Independent Technical Advisory Committee is also providing expert oversight of the monitoring programs during the capital dredging works.

Image: Hall Contracting also led the work to build a 2.2km rock wall to form a protective bund around a 62ha Port Reclamation Area at the eastern end of the Port of Townsville.