Super-size me PoMC!

PoMC's secret is out - they want an even bigger Queen in the Bay!



Blue Wedges spokesperson Jenny Warfe says plans to "supersize" the Queen of the Netherlands have certainly been kept in the closet until the door was flung open by none other than Lloyd’s List[1]

According to Lloyd’s List DCN PoMC has played down concerns about a decision to lengthen and increase the capacity of the Queen of the Netherlands (QoN) in Thailand later this year.  The Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) also thought the issue newsworthy, reporting it in their Vic/Tas current newsletter[2], noting that plans are underway for the Queen's owners, Royal Boskalis to "jumbo-ise" the dredge later this year in Thailand. It is understood that the Queen will be "jumbo-ised" by an extra 50 metres length, and 50% increased capacity to 35,500 cubic metres.

The PoMC's Public Stakeholder Advisory Committee which sat for 18 months until December 2006 until disbanded by the Port was told nothing of plans to supersize The Queen – Could that be because some committee members might have suggested it was no longer valid to extrapolate results from the trial dredge done by the lighter, shorter, slimmer Queen? We wonder why the PoMC has been so secretive about their Queen being operated on in Thailand.  

 “The Queen will be an even bigger and uglier beast than she was when we were forced to tolerate her in our Bay during the trial dredge in 2005, and we must be even more certain and committed now that we never want to see her back in Port Phillip Bay” says Ms. Warfe

Apparently Mr. Nick Easy, Executive General Manager for the Channel Deepening project said in January that the "jumbo-isation" was "quite unlikely" to impact on any work in Melbourne. If there was any clash, Mr. Easy assured LLoyd's List that the Queen's sister ship WD Fairway, which has already had her "jumbo-isation" is 2003, would be able to step into the breach.

Well - not so easy Mr. Easy. Poor old WD Fairway has since slipped on her petticoat and is out of action. In ‘Toxic Plume may reach Docklands’ The Age March 23, 2007 Clay Lucas reports that Fairway, one of the two massive boats owned by the Dutch company hired to dredge Port Phillip Bay (QoN being the other) was recently involved in a horrendous collision in the Chinese port of Tianjin. The collision, on March 7th will throw out dredger Boskalis' schedule for at least nine months.


“It seems the PoMC’s plans might have suffered another set back and the Corporation should use the time to re-think the viability of a project based on old style growth and consumption patterns” says Ms. Warfe. For the PoMC’s plans to work, they require trade through the Port to quadruple by 2035. Figures from the recently released PriceWaterhouse Coopers Economic Analysis of the Port of Melbourne[3] report that in 2005 we moved 1.49 million containers through the PoM. That’s about one container for every three people in Victoria.


By 2035, if the Port’s plans were to come to fruition, we would be moving over 7 million containers through the Port. That’s 1.1 containers for every man woman and child in the state[4]. Imagine the consequences of that for Melbourne’s congestion! And that’s without the projected expansion of the Port of Hastings to be handling an additional 3.7 million containers by 2035, twice the current throughput of the Port of Melbourne. Are there enough hours in the day to consume all this stuff? asks Ms. Warfe.



[1] Lloyd’s List DCN Newswire 18th January 2007. Lloyds List is a subscription based journal, and are dedicated shipping and transport news service. They describe themselves as Australia's leading source of maritime business news and information

[3] Economic Analysis of the Port of Melbourne PwC for DTF and DOI  Page 36


[4] Calculated using 2005 Victorian population of 4.9 million and projected 2035 population of 6 million.


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