Channels House - Level 2, 235 Ryrie St Geelong, Vic 3220
Phone: +61 3 5225 3500

Geelong Dredging Program 2016

Australia depends on ports for its economic health.

Australia depends on ports for its economic health.
While road and rail networks help distribute goods across the country, the bulk of our nation's imports and exports are carried by ship into ports including Geelong.

Shipping channels are our saltwater highways. And, just like vital land links, they need constant maintenance and improvement to remain safe and efficient for the continually evolving fleet and trades they service.

Victorian Regional Channels Authority is currently carrying out a $5 million upgrade centred on its shipping lanes in Corio Bay. The Geelong Dredging Program 2016 will ensure that the Port of Geelong, Victoria's premier bulk cargo port, keeps its competitive edge and strong focus on safe navigation.

2015 dredging

VRCA investigations show a global trend in shipping to increasingly larger vessels to achieve economies of scale. The authority and the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, who carefully guide ships into the Port of Geelong, know even small increases in a ship's dimensions can have serious ramifications when navigating Corio Bay's narrow channels. The multi-million dollar improvements are a key to providing safe, efficient passage for the next generation of longer and wider ships to the busy port.

The Geelong Dredging Project 2016, funded by VRCA, involves:

  • Dredging of an area on the eastern side of Corio Channel to increase the navigable width of the Channel at tis location. About 160,000 cubic metres of silts, silty clays and stiff clay will be removed from this area to aid the safe navigation of ships.
  • Minor remedial works in Hopetoun and Wilson Spit Channels

VRCA conducted the necessary planning and environmental approvals process during 2016, and will complete the works by the end of January 2018. NZ-based Heron Construction Company will carry out the dredging work. Heron will use its backhoe dredger Machiavelli to excavate the material from the seabed 24 hours a day during the program, which will take up to 7 weeks to complete. Two split-hopper barges, manoeuvred by tugs, will transport the dredged material to an approved dredge material ground in Port Phillip Bay about six kilometres east of Point Wilson. The bed levelling tug Edi will use a levelling blade to trim the seabed after dredging has been completed.

This dredge material ground has been used for previous projects, including the major capital dredging works in the Geelong channel network in 1997, and the Geelong Dredging Programs 2014 and 2015.
P W Johnson Constructions Pty Ltd has the specialist task of removing an existing navigation beacon and re-installing it when dredging is completed. Drysdale based Elstone Diving Services Pty Ltd will place a temporary floating buoy to aid navigation as required and recover the buoy when the work is done.

Dredging is a routine part of maintaining and improving Geelong's shipping channels. It has occurred periodically during the past 150 years and is an important activity in ensuring the Port of Geelong and its channel network can operate at capacity now and in the future.

Geelong's shipping hub and the companies reliant on it generate billions of dollars for the region each year and provide jobs for more than 7000 people. It's an important gateway to the rest of the world for Victoria's wide-ranging businesses, and it helps keep the state's economic heart beating strongly.

The Geelong Dredging Project 2016 is governed by an approved Environmental Management Plan and dredging contractors must follow a strict set of rules that ensure the protection of Corio Bay's marine environment. Monitoring after the 1997 major capital dredging project, which removed 20 times the volume of material earmarked for the current work, and recent dredging experience has revealed no long-term health effect on the bay's marine environment.

The dredging schedule will not impact on commercial ships or the port's daily operations, but recreational bay users must observe a 200 metre exclusion zone around major dredging equipment as part of a raft of strict safety rules.

VRCA acknowledges people have a genuine interest in Corio Bay. The authority set up a community group to discuss its dredging plans several months ago and will continue to consult with members and port stakeholders as work progresses.

Community Feedback

For any community feedback or questions in regards to the 2016 Geelong Dredging Program, Please Click Here
To view questions that have already been submitted, Please Click Here

Dredging Facts Sheet

Click Here to view our Dredging Fact Sheet

Media Release

pdfMedia Release - 17/10/17 - New $4 million program adds to Geelong port efficiency

vrca dredging video

Notice to Mariners

Map of Areas and Drawings

Reference Material

Dredging Vessels