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Aerial Drone of NSS @ Work

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A $22 million upgrade project has kicked off at Townsville Bulk Sugar Terminal, with more than 50 people working to replace 415 tonnes of roof sheeting.

The two-year project involves replacing ageing roofing with new aluminium cladding and upgrading and strengthening structural steel elements of the two 300m sheds.

Owner Sugar Terminals Limited said initial work on the two-year project began in March 2021 and the first roof sheets were removed in May, at the end of the 2021 cyclone season.

The first stage is currently focused on Shed 2, which was commissioned in 1965 and the second stage will repeat the process on Shed 1, which dates back to 1959. The entire project is scheduled for completion in September 2022.

STL chief executive officer David Quinn said this investment demonstrated the company’s long-term commitment to Queensland’s sugar industry and acknowledged the vital role the Townsville operations continue to play.

“The works in Townsville represent the final stage of a $100 million investment by STL in rejuvenating 10 large storage sheds across six Queensland sugar terminals,” he said.

Mr Quinn said the activity was occurring at heights of up to 27m above ground level, making it a technical task that required careful planning and a strong focus on safety.

BESIX Watpac northern area manager Wade Cummins said the system adopted for the project was state-of-the-art.

“On a roof with 35 degrees pitch, safety is paramount so we are deploying an innovative system to ensure worker safety. The system utilises a rolling platform or ‘roof walker’ which travels along the purlins and provides a safe and secure platform from which our workers can operate,” Mr Cummins said.

Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said the Port had a proud history of supporting Queensland’s sugar industry, with the first sugar exported from Townsville’s wharves in 1872.

“STL’s Townsville bulk sugar sheds can store up to 750,000 tonnes of raw sugar at any one time, making the roof cladding vital for protecting the sugar in the tropical elements. The roof upgrades will ensure this important northern trade continues to bring economic benefits to the region for decades to come.”