Residents of bayside towns on the Peninsula might have seen a ship carrying an unusual cargo as it travelled up the South Channel on Saturday, July 2, 2016. It was the heavy-load carrying vessel Zhen Hua 21 with four STS (ship-to-shore) cranes standing high above her deck.
Three of those were bound for Webb Dock, which is on the east side of the mouth of the Yarra River. Those who have recently travelled over the West Gate Bridge may have noticed these cranes, with two others which were delivered earlier, standing above the dock area. Webb Dock, which is entered directly from Hobson’s Bay, not from the river, has been redeveloped to handle both container and ro-ro (roll-on, roll-off) cargoes.
The container terminal is one of the most modern in the world, being highly automated. Along with the STS cranes there are 12 automated stacking cranes and 11 automated container carriers. The first phase of the development, which is ready for business, has one 330m berth and a 10ha container storage area, with an annual capacity of 200,000 20foot containers. In January the facilities were tested, with 400 empty containers being handled from a container ship at the wharf. When fully developed, the container terminal will be capable of handling 1.4 million teu (20foot equivalent units) per year.
During December, work was completed on the western section of the dock. The new three-berth 920m wharf is part of the expanded automotive hub redevelopment. This new quay-line will facilitate Victoria’s automotive trade. In 2015-16 the Port handled more than 372,000 new motor vehicles. The new-look wharf complements the international roll-on roll-off auto terminal at Webb Dock West. A new pre-delivery inspection hub allows for vehicles to be prepared for dealers when unloaded from ships, which will reduce the number of trucks using the Westgate corridor.
Also completed recently was the shared walking and bicycle pathway which stretches from the Yarra River at Westgate Park under the West Gate Bridge to Sandridge Beach. For those interested this pathway provides an opportunity to view the changes at Webb Dock.
By Maurie Hutchinson (president, Peninsula Ship Society)
The Peninsula Ship Society meets at Hastings Yacht Club on the fourth Tuesday of each month, 10am. Visitors always welcome.
T: Maurie 9787 5780