Work has started on the first stage of the $51 million Nelson Point Tug Haven project at the Port of Port Hedland, providing robust infrastructure in the port. Austral Construction, who was awarded the $29 million contract in 2021, have commenced the works to stabilise the revetments affected by ageing and storm events, restoring a fit-for-purpose facility for the current tug fleet and providing robust infrastructure to the port. A range of works will be undertaken over the coming months, following a comprehensive design process that included driving steel piles around the internal boundary of the tug haven to prevent water erosion beneath the revetment walls.

The new steel pile wall will then be partially backfilled to strengthen the structure. As part of these works, $4 million of the proposed expenditure will be invested into local Pilbara-based businesses, creating more opportunity and a pipeline of works in the region.The first stage of works is expected to be completed in late 2022, with the tender for the second stage to also be released later this year.

The second stage will include the replacement of the outer wall of the tug haven with a stronger design and greater storm protection than the current wall. Nelson Point Tug Haven was initially constructed in 1985 to provide a secure harbour for tugboats which service the Port of Port Hedland. Vessel movements at the Port of Port Hedland have increased considerably since it was built, and these upgrades will ensure it is fit-for-purpose and able to support ongoing port operations.This project forms part of the State Government's multi-billion dollar WA Recovery Plan.
Comments attributed to Ports Minister Rita Saffioti: "The tugs used at the Port of Port Hedland helped to facilitate more than 6,500 safe vessel movements last financial year. "This project represents the first major upgrade to the tug haven in more than 35 years, during which time the port has experienced destructive tropical cyclones, including most recently Severe Tropical Cyclone Veronica in 2019, and seen an exponential increase in export volumes."This investment will ensure the Nelson Point Tug Haven remains a safe and reliable asset, setting up the facility for the future as the port looks to increase capacity to meet growing export demand."

Comments attributed to Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel:"This project is creating opportunities for our local businesses, with Austral Contracting directly employing local subcontractors on this $29 million contract. "Approximately $4 million is going to be invested into our local Pilbara-based businesses, providing our locals with great opportunities to get involved and support local jobs."