‘Cut­ting edge’ ops cen­tre un­veiled

North West Telegraph - - News - Robert Dougherty

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.

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