‘Cutting edge’ ops centre unveiled
Port Hedland’s integrated marine operations centre has been unveiled to the media, ahead of public tours expected to be held on Thursday and Friday.
Pilbara Ports Authority general manager operations John Finch said the 35m tall, $70.7 million facility was “cutting edge” and “an absolute quantum shift” during a tour last Friday.
The seven-storey building will oversee 18 ship movements a day, 6000 every year, when completed, with operations staff moving in next month. It will open in April.
“It’s definitely cutting edge for Australia . . . in terms of vessel traffic service function in Australia, I think this would be top of the tree once we are up and running,” he said. “We have a transition plan. “We start site acceptance testing in December and January when all our staff get trained on the new equipment, then we will run both old and new in parallel until we are absolutely sure it’s working with no glitches.
“This building gives us a facility to move all our operations staff out here, refurbish the rest of the building and all of the other staff will move into one location.”
The facility features equipment which integrates a 6.7m radar scanner, radio, 23 new CCTV cameras and wall display with 18 interconnected screens to co-ordinate shipping.
“We have designed it to be absolutely functional from day one in Port Hedland with three operators but we are absolutely aware that in the next couple of years we will be inheriting a number of other ports so we’ve made it absolutely expandable,” Mr Finch said.
“We can eventually have nine operators in there and a supervisor . . . future-proofing the port and whatever responsibility we may take on for the next 25 years.
“The technology that we are using here is an absolute quantum shift from what we are using at the moment.”
Preparations have been made to save historical plaques from the current Geoff Monks Port Control Tower built in 1968 — likely to be demolished in May — as well as trees and garden beds important to the Port Hedland War Memorial.
The Port of Port Hedland is the largest bulk export port in the world, with about 25 per cent of global seaborne iron ore trade and more than $140 million of material shipped every day.
Pilbara Ports Authority chief executive Roger Johnston inside the control centre of the as-yet unnamed IMOC tower.