A custom-designed, purpose-built transhipment vessel for South Australia’s (SA) new Lucky Bay grain export port was launched in China in early May. LUCKY EYRE, 3,500 dwt, 87m-long transhipper, has been built at Bonny Fair Development Co’s Nansha yard, to a concept developed by Brisbane’s Sea Transport Solutions (STS), and is initially owned by STS subsidiary Sea Lease.
At the end of May, the vessel was moved to China Communications and Construction Company at Shanghai, for the installation of the materials handling system, which will have a rated discharge capacity of 1,800 tph.
The self-propelled LUCKY EYRE will have a laden draught of just 3.9m, in order to shuttle grain, grown on SA’s Eyre Peninsula, from the shallow-draught port to bulk carriers anchored around five nautical miles offshore.
Private consortium T-Ports – which comprises local farmers and venture capitalists, along with STS – is behind the A$115M project on a 358-ha site near Cowell, which includes a shiploader, receival and storage facilities with a capacity to hold 430,000t of grain, and, separately, 150,000t of upcountry storage at Lock.
Upon completion the ship will be vended into T-Ports, and is expected in South Australia by the end of this year. In service, it will be managed by SeaSA.
T-Ports estimates that grain exporters will save A$5-20/t, depending on their proximity to port, using the low capital cost supply chain. The company pointed out that other benefits include reduced port charges, with no berthage, wharfage, tugs, line boats and pilots.
T-Ports said that, while the present project is focused on agricultural products, it can be adapted and expanded to service higher-grade mineral exports, including parcels of graphite, kaolin, tin, copper and gold.