Extra 250 ships on harbour when WICET ramps up

ACTIVITY on Gladstone harbour is set to increase dramatically as the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal comes online in the next few weeks.

The project is three to four weeks away from receiving its first coal train, and on track for its first vessel in late November or early December.

Speaking on ABC Radio on Wednesday, Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive Craig Doyle said when the project was at full capacity, there would be an extra 250 vessels coming through the harbour.

The first LNG vessels also are expected during that time as the QCLNG plant on Curtis Island comes online.

"We expect to see the first LNG vessel before the end of the year, from QGC," Mr Doyle said.

"Each of the three plants will be up and running in the next 12-18 months, so there's a lot more happening as Gladstone port continues to grow."

The WICET project and a new tug boat facility also will result in more local jobs.

Mr Doyle said recruiting was underway for people to operate the coal terminal, with the first intake being around 40 people.

The ports corporation's role as far as LNG is concerned is to provide services on the water such as pilotage and tug boat services.

"We already have about 30 pilots in the port that come under our control, and there might be a couple more put on, up to 32 in total," he said.

Mr Doyle said there would be "quite a few more people" put on through SMIT as new tugboats begin operating.

A new tug boat facility being built behind the RG Tanna coal terminal also is weeks away from completion.

The modern facility will provide closer access to where most ships come into the harbour near the coal terminals.

It also will house the five tugs and one back-up currently operating out of Auckland Point, plus five new large tugs that are coming into the port to support the LNG facilities.

Topics:  gladstone harbour gladstone ports corporation lng port of gladstone

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