Port on road to recovery


THE Bundaberg Port is putting the final touches to its recovery from the summer floods that closed down operations as debris swept down the river and navigational aids were washed away.

Bundaberg Port manager Jason Pascoe said the port had been operating since March, but dredging had to be carried out and navigational aids put in place.

He said the dredging operations should be finished today.

Dredging has taken an estimated 350,000 cubic metres of spoil out of the river to make it safer for shipping.

The dredged material, mainly river sand, has been taken to a designated spoil point at the port.

The dredging of the swing basin, berth pockets and departure channel was carried out to return the port to more normal operating depths.

"We have continued to operate, and sugar ships have been taking sugar out," Mr Pascoe said.

Ships carrying cargoes of molasses had also been able to dock at the port.

Mr Pascoe said another notable cargo was 17,000 tonnes of drainage material sent though the port by a Bundaberg quarry.

The material was sent to Curtis Island, near Gladstone, where a natural gas liquefaction plant is being built.

"We are possibly looking at opportunities to increase the movement of products through the port," Mr Pascoe said.

A Maritime Safety Queensland spokesman said the driving of five replacement piles for navigation aids in the Burnett River was now complete.

"This was the most challenging part of the operation and will be followed by progressive installation of the synchronised LED lights," he said.

The port was closed to commercial and recreational vessels, after original navigation piles were swept away by two flood events in December and January, for the safety of all vessels while temporary buoys were fast-tracked.

Ten temporary navigation buoys worth $140,000 were trucked on special consignment from Melbourne in February.

The spokesman said Maritime Safety Queensland was already preparing for the possibility of further adverse weather and flooding with the predicted return of last year's weather patterns.

Eight piles destroyed upstream by flood waters will be replaced by floating navigation buoys which can be quickly relocated by boat.

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