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Economic impact of not dredging the Port of Rockhampton (Port Alma) for sustainable sediment management

The aim of this report is to model the potential economic impacts of a hypothetical case where maintenance dredging was no longer conducted in the Port of Rockhampton. The port currently has three operating wharves which ship a wide range of cargoes, predominantly explosives, bulk tallow, petroleum products, and military equipment for Shoalwater Bay Military Training Facility. Port Alma is one of only four ports in Queensland that can handle large quantities of explosives and is the highest volume licensed explosives port in Australia. In 2018-19, 79 major vessels transited though Port Alma, including 64 Handy and 15 Mini Bulker sized vessels. In terms of the maximum draft requirements, both berth 1 and 3 have the largest requirements which are 9.9 metres. In 2018-19, about 47% of vessels accessing to Port Alma required a draft over 7.5 metres and carried about 57% of cargo volumes. If accessible draft were to drop down to 8 metres, about 30% of the vessels would not be able to access the port and about 37% of total cargo would not be shipped. Once available draft fell to five metres or less, the port would effectively cease to be operational. Restrictions in access are modelled to reduce shipping relatively quickly, within two years. All wharves would cease to be operational by year 10. There will be very rapid impacts on three main commodities: explosives, ammonium nitrite and miscellaneous goods. The results of the analysis show that the economic effects on the regional, state and national economy will be large and rapid. All sectors will suffer a reduction in access within the first two years, as larger vessels are excluded from the harbour. Within ten years of not maintenance dredging, all operations at the port would effectively cease. The economic impacts would be substantial, with direct output losses in the regional areas modelled to be $208M after 20 years, increasing to $357M and $456M respectively when supply chain and consumption impacts are added in. These impacts are predicted to be associated with a loss in value added of $200M, a loss in income of $99M, and a reduction in employment of 1,43 people. The effect of those impacts will be concentrated in the central Queensland region. There will be additional negative impacts on the Queensland and Australian economies when the impacts of lower business and consumption expenditure outside of the central Queensland region are factored in.


Category 3 - Industry and Other Research Income


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Gladstone Ports Corporation

Peer Reviewed

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Open Access

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