Mr Hodgett said New Zealand-based Heron Construction Company had won a dredging tender to carry out channel-widening work at City Bend as part of a $6 million investment in the future of the Port of Geelong.
“Work is expected to begin mid-year and take about two months to complete,” Mr Hodgett said.
“As ships in the world fleet continue to grow in size, it is our job to ensure they have safe access to Geelong's port. This widening of the channel at City Bend is a key part in our plan to increase channel capacity as the port heads towards a forecasted doubling of trade by 2030.”
Mr Ryan said the project was further evidence of the Coalition Government supporting growth in the Geelong region and enhancing the trade capacity of the Port of Geelong, which benefits many grain and woodchip exporters in regional Victoria.
More than 650 ships are forecast to visit Geelong's port this financial year. A record 13.2 million tonnes of cargo valued at about $7.6 billion passed through the port last year,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Premier and Minister Hodgett were here in August to announce the major investment for the Corio Bay Channel Safety Adjustment Plan, further emphasising the Coalition Government’s commitment to the City of Geelong.
“The contract has been awarded after a comprehensive tender and regulatory approval process. The project must comply with a strict Environmental Management Plan.”
Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA) Chief Executive Officer Captain Peter McGovern said the VRCA has also appointed specialist maritime contractor Waterway Constructions, based in Williamstown, to relocate navigation beacons at the dredging site before work begins.
“The contract includes maintenance and storage of the relocated state-of-the-art beacons and the placing of temporary beacons at City Bend while dredging occurs,” Captain McGovern said.
"It is wonderful to be able to draw on Victorian expertise as part of this important project.”
The VRCA, in consultation with the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, has carried out a series of studies in the past few years to ensure its channels network can meet future changes including a trend towards bigger ships that service the port's key trades and increased vessel numbers.