Support for Community Sea Freight and Port Operations

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Number: D18/2017

Date: 12 April 2017

Relevant: Christmas Island

Topic: Support for Community Sea Freight and Port Operations

As the community is aware, the wharf crane is expected to be repaired by July. In addition to working to restore port operations, the Department has been looking at options and costs to support the community through the transport of general cargo on Zentner vessels.

Funds for the Zentner Singapore Deviation Cost

Unfortunately, the Zentner vessel was not able to unload on Christmas Island (CI) in March and it deviated to Singapore. Zentner imposed a charge on customers to cover cost of this deviation (Zentner General Notice 3–2017).

The Department is pleased to advise it has now offered to cover this Zentner deviation surcharge. Zentner will refund customers who have already paid this charge. Funding support for this deviation cost is expected to be around $95,500.

Funds for Zentner Unloading Costs

Consistent with Minister Nash's commitment to the community on 6 March 2017, Bulletin D14/2017 advised the Department would cover the extra unloading costs on CI for the next Zentner vessel. Funding support for additional stevedoring, ship demurrage and potential weather delays for this Zentner vessel is expected to be up to $87,000.

The Department has now extended this support for the three Zentner vessels which are scheduled to arrive at CI by June, bringing this funding support to around $261,000.

CI Port berthing charges have been kept low to reflect usual berthing periods.

Funds for Short-term Crane Hire

The short-term option to unload the Zentner cargo vessels on CI is the use of the Phosphate Resources Limited (PRL) 100 tonne crane. The Department appreciates PRL's offer to the Minister during her visit and again on 8 March to make this crane available to the community to unload the Zentner vessels.

The Department has agreed to pay PRL to hire its crane at a rate of $700/hour to service the Zentner vessels. Funding support to hire PRL's crane for three Zentner cargo vessels to June is expected to be around $126,000.

With the wharf crane awaiting repairs, usual Port crane hire costs of $300/hour are not being charged to either port user (being PRL or Zentner).

Funds for the Outer Mooring Repair to Support PRL Operations

At the request of PRL, the Department is planning to repair the A Buoy in the outer mooring system, which is used almost exclusively by PRL. This support to PRL operations is expected to cost around $740,000. This is in addition to the approximately $468,000 spent repairing the B Buoy late last year.

Funds for Aviation Fuel Transport

To ensure aviation fuel can be supplied to CI in the short-term, the Department has agreed to hire alternative ‘isotainers’ for two shipments. These will ensure aviation fuel can be delivered to CI below the weight limitations of PRL's crane. Funding support for the isotainers is expected to be around $70,000.

In summary, the Department is providing additional support to port operations as follows:

  • For general cargo on Zentner vessels—$482,500;
  • For PRL operations—$1,208,000; and
  • For the supply of Aviation Fuel—$70,000.

I am pleased that these measures will support the community of CI. At the same time, the Department is continuing to work on the medium and long-term solutions for the port and I look forward to providing you with further updates.

 

Karly Pidgeon
General Manager
Indian Ocean Territories Branch