A brand new 87M transhipment vessel, capable of carrying 3,300 tonnes of grain, has officially been launched in China in preparation for its journey to Australia’s Eyre Peninsula where it will begin operation at Lucky Bay’s new grain port.
The new vessel dubbed “Lucky Eyre” was specially designed by Sea Transport Solutions (partnering with T-Ports), who are both proud and excited to see the final build complete and ready to be fitted in Shanghai with a material handling system, before setting sail for South Australia.
T-Ports chief executive Kieran Carvill, who was in China for the vessel launch, said this transhipment vessel is vital to the new port as it can operate within the shallow water in the Lucky Bay harbour terminal. The new port itself is a farmer and private equity partner owned project.
“Use of a transhipment vessel means we need less than 4 metres of depth in the harbour terminal, eliminating the need for major jetty structures and other port infrastructure, which is a lower-cost model,” Mr. Carvill reported.
Once it reaches Lucky Bay, the new ship will be loaded with grain in port where it will then travel out to meet deepwater vessels waiting roughly 5 nautical miles from the port. In good weather, this vessel will be able to deliver an estimated 10,800 to 13,250 tonnes of cargo to these deep water ships daily.
Work to design the new Lucky Bay terminal, located near Cowell, is now underway with local engineering firm Ahrens expected to begin construction of the port facility this month. This news has come after T-Ports and Adelaide Crows chairman, Rob Chapman, jointly announced work would start on the greatly anticipated $115 million dollar grain port this past March.
T-Ports said the new port would be a breakthrough for Australian grain farmers who are currently facing insufficient competition and expensive transport costs. Mr. Chapman said he expected the project would create 50 to 60 construction jobs while the first grain shipment is expected to leave Lucky Bay this coming October. He also stated that civil contractors have been shortlisted for the project’s two bunker sites and there are plans to award the bulk of the earthworks contracts this month.
Once the project is complete, grain farmers are expected to save up to $5 to $20 per tonne in transportation costs along with another $25 to $40 per tonne in importing fertiliser back to the port. Currently, it arrives through Port Lincoln or is trucked from Adelaide. Mr. Chapman said that the 120 farmers in the Eyre Peninsula who have committed to using the new port will receive a $3 dollar company share per tonne of grain delivered.
The private equity team launching the new shallow-harbour port are also looking at Yorke Peninsula for a second port site in the future.