The new liquid fuel import facility located at Outer Harbor in Port Adelaide, South Australia officially opened in April 2014.
When it comes to its responsibilities around critical infrastructure, Flinders Ports is well aware of its responsibilities to support key supply chains across essential commodities such as fuel.
At Flinders Ports, security of supply is a big focus. As the only port operator in the state that handles liquid fuel imports we know that consumers and businesses are depending on us, because South Australia is 100 per cent reliant on imported petroleum.
Flinders Ports operates a common-user fuel import facility at M berth in Port Adelaide’s Inner Harbour, but the company’s strategic review revealed this as a supply chain risk. All of the fuel needs for metropolitan Adelaide were dependent on this facility and sole reliance on M Berth meant there was no redundancy in the system.
Securing the supply chain
The search was on for a new common-user site and Flinders Ports teamed up with industry partner Caltex to secure the state’s fuel supply chain. Berth 4 at Outer Harbor was selected as the preferred site. In addition to the main goal of supply chain security, the deeper water at Berth 4 meant that Flinders Ports would be able to accommodate larger vessels than at Inner Harbour. For the first time Long Range (LR) vessels as well as Medium Range (MR) class would be able to call at Adelaide, offering fuel importers economies-of-scale.
But choosing Outer Harbor meant that Flinders Ports’ infrastructure department had to work within the parameters of an existing berth to retrofit a modern fuel handling facility. The first step was for the Flinders Ports’ engineering team to demolish the old timber berth. Coordinating dredging at the berth to a depth of 13.8 metres was the next stage. Once that was completed construction could begin. A new concrete loading platform, 18 x 14 metres, mounted on steel piles replaced the timber. Connection points for the fuel loading arms and a water supply for ships were put in place. One dolphin and four fenders bolstered by a total of five strong points across the structure were built to complete the new fuel handling berth.
Focus on safety
Caltex supplied two brand new loading arms from Kanon, which feature dry break couplings to reduce the risk of spillage.
The loading arms have a maximum flow rate of up to 2.6 million litres of fuel per hour, optimising turnaround times for ships. Two pipelines, each 2.4 kilometres in length, transfer the fuel from the berth to the Caltex Fuel Farm at Pelican Point, which has a commissioned stage one capacity of 85 million litres.
Safety is a top priority at any Flinders Ports operated facility, but additional measures are required at fuel handling or storage zones because explosion and fire are potential risks. Rigorous supplier evaluations were conducted for the fire detection and fire-fighting equipment that we installed at Berth 4. Fully compliant with Australian Standards and International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT), the fire system features two remote fire monitors, an emergency fire-fighting activation switch, a fire-fighting control centre, supported by a portable control panel. This portable control panel also known as “the belly pack” enables the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service’s (SAMFS) fire fighters to move around the site to ensure their own safety and to optimise the fire-fighting effort. Flinders Ports has facilitated emergency training for the SAMFS at the site and staff at Flinders Ports receive ongoing training on emergency protocols at the facility. This means activating the automatic fire-fighting system and waiting at a safe distance from the facility until the SAMFS arrives. The mantra is activate, then evacuate.
Long range planning
The facility welcomed its first vessel, the Jupiter Express on 13 February 2014 and since then has handled several other MR class ships. Flinders Ports is currently working on the simulator modelling and testing the requirements for LR 2 vessels. These larger, long range vessels, which can be up to 250 metres long, 80,000 deadweight tonnes with 42 metre beams, are expected to arrive at Outer Harbor in the short to medium-term.