Outer Harbor Channel Widening Project

About the project

The shipping channel at Outer Harbor, Port Adelaide, is a busy shipping hub that sees hundreds of vessels come and go each year transporting goods into and out of South Australia.

In May 2018, the State Government granted Flinders Ports development approval to widen the Outer Harbor shipping channel so that larger ships, which are increasingly being used by international shipping companies, can safely and efficiently access Adelaide’s Outer Harbor port facilities.

Most Australian container ports can already accommodate wider vessels without restrictions. Changes to the Flinders Adelaide Container Terminal are vital to ensuring South Australia remains competitive and globally accessible in the logistics and tourism industries.

The Outer Harbor Channel Widening project will enable the port to accommodate container ships and cruise ships with a maximum width of 49 metres without operational restrictions. Currently, operational restrictions are necessary for vessels more than 42.2 metres wide, limiting the port’s efficiency and accessibility.

Flinders Ports applied for a dredging licence through the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) in July 2018 and public consultation occurred from 5 – 30 November 2018. The dredging licence was issued in March 2019, with works scheduled to begin in June 2019.

The dredging program will focus on increasing the width of the channel only. The depth will remain unchanged. Dredge material is proposed to be placed approximately 30km off-shore in Gulf St Vincent – the same location used for the 2005 channel deepening project.

Widening the Outer Harbor shipping channel will unlock further import and export opportunities for South Australia.

Download a Fact Sheet:

Fact Sheet – Project background

Fact Sheet – Project Overview



The timeline indicates the expected progress of the project.

Please note that these timelines are subject to change.

Licence approval

Flinders Ports is working closely with key government agencies including the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PRISA), Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), to ensure regulatory conditions are satisfied and State Government objectives for the environment are met.

A key step in the project is obtaining a licence through the EPA and a permit for native vegetation clearance from DEW.

The EPA is South Australia’s independent environment protection regulator. One of its roles is to work with major project proponents to establish strict environmental conditions and requirements to protect, restore and enhance the environment.

The EPA issued a dredging licence to Flinders Ports in March 2019 for the Outer Harbor Channel Widening Project.

Flinders Ports welcomes this announcement and is now finalising its Dredging Management Plan, to be approved by the EPA, which will set out how Flinders Ports will fulfil the requirements of the licence.

As the project takes a step forward, Flinders Ports continues to meet with stakeholders to ensure key issues are addressed.

For further information about the objectives of the licence conditions, please download the Outer Harbor dredging, fact sheet.

EPA licence conditions

Flinders Ports was issued a dredge licence by the EPA in March 2019 to proceed with the Outer Harbor Channel Widening Project.

The licence was granted under the Environmental Protection Act 1993 and incorporates conditions to meet various issues raised through community and stakeholder submissions.

Flinders Ports’ Dredge Management Plan will incorporate requirements of the licence to ensure conditions are being followed.

The marine environment will be closely monitored before, during and after dredging to enable any risks to be identified and interventions to be applied.

Once dredging begins, there will be regular reporting to the EPA on management and monitoring activities, as well as public access to monitoring data on the Flinders Ports website

Dredging will begin in June 2019 and planned to conclude in September 2019.

To read more information about the licence application, please visit the EPA website:

The conditions of licence aim to protect the marine environment and minimise the immediate and long-term effects of the dredging works.

General conditions include:

  • A comprehensive environmental evaluation
  • Thorough consultation with all stakeholders
  • Real-time monitoring and reporting, including triggers to manage the works within established limits

Additional conditions have been set for the dredge method, environmental management and monitoring, turbidity management, seagrass management and monitoring, Dredge Management Plan, POMS management, biosecurity and the Dolphin Sanctuary.

The Department of Environment and Water approved a Native Vegetation Clearance permit in January 2019, allowing Flinders Ports to clear a small amount of sparse seagrass (approximately 4ha) as part of the expansion of the Outer Harbor Channel.

The permit accepts that up to 158ha of seagrass will potentially be indirectly affected in the short-term. Vegetation assessments predict the dredge method and the reactive monitoring program will reduce potential impacts throughout dredging activity, and initial disturbance to seagrass is expected to recover post dredging.

Flinders Ports has developed a draft Dredge Management Plan (DMP) which is currently being adapted to align with the EPA licence conditions and Native Vegetation Clearance permit. Once finalised, this will then be submitted to the EPA for approval.

The DMP aims to guide the operational dredge works, and associated environmental protection measures.

The DMP identifies the preferred method of managing environmental issues associated with dredging for this project, including:

  • Dredging
  • Vessel movement
  • Dredged material placement
  • Vessel management (e.g. bunkering, ballast water exchange)
  • Biosecurity

The EPA, PIRSA, DEW and the South Australian Research and Development Institute have worked closely with Flinders Ports to develop a dredge methodology that minimises impacts to the marine environment.

The final DMP will be available to download below shortly.

Flinders Ports has appointed world-leading dredging and marine specialist Boskalis to undertake the dredge works for the widening of the Outer Harbor channel and swing basin.

With more than 100 years’ experience in hydraulic engineering, coastal protection and land reclamation, Boskalis will use state-of-the-art equipment to minimise environmental impact.

The project will be conducted in alignment with a Dredge Management Plan which ensures the conditions of the EPA dredge licence and DEW Native Vegetation Clearance permit are met or improved upon.

Boskalis is a Netherlands-based public company, operating in 90 countries across six continents. It is recognised globally among industry experts for its specialist environmentally-friendly dredging techniques, innovative approach and keen focus on safety and efficiency.

Boskalis will begin dredging from June through to September 2019 while the weather is cooler and potential environmental impacts are considered to be reduced.

Flinders Ports is committed to undertaking the Outer Harbor Channel Widening project in a manner that is sensitive to the marine environment and compliant with the Development Approval and the EPA licence conditions.

As detailed planning gets underway to deliver the project in accordance with conditions of that licence, we are working closely with key groups and individuals to address any concerns and keep interested parties informed. These conversations are informing our planning ahead of dredging commencing in June 2019.

Our public engagement program includes one on one meetings, information days, focus sessions with key environmental groups and stakeholders on key issues of interest in both the planning and construction phases, newsletters to local residents living in North Haven and surrounds, and regular updates to this website.

If you would like to participate in Flinders Ports engagement program, we would like to hear from you.  Please register your interest below, or call our project team on 1800 431 317.

Find out more about the project

As custodian of the channel, Outer Harbor and the Port River, Flinders Ports is acutely aware of the need to care for our waterways, and especially so during a project such as the Outer Harbor Channel Widening Project.

As the project progresses, please check back here to view monitoring information as it becomes available.

Still have questions? Contact us to find out more information about the project.

Contact Flinders Ports
Phone: or call us on 1800 431 317. 
Email: channelwidening@flindersports.com.au
Post: P.O. Box 19, Port Adelaide, South Australia, 5015

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