The discharge of the second shipment of Boco Rock Wind Farm components will begin at the Port of Eden on Wednesday, with the question of local jobs still up in the air.
Only four local stevedores will be involved in discharging the second load of components, which will arrive at the navy multipurpose wharf on Tuesday night aboard the bulk carrier Thamesborg, with Port-Kembla based Patrick Ports and Stevedoring again taking control.
Australian Marshalling Services (AMS) operations manager David Staight said the Eden-based operation is still hopeful of securing the stevedoring contract for upcoming shipments, with the third load of components scheduled to reach the Port of Eden aboard the BBC Washington on May 19.
Mr Staight said he has spoken with shipping agents for the BBC Washington, who advised him that stevedores have not yet been appointed to unload the vessel.
“(The Thamesborg) is the second vessel that Patrick have secured; the rest are still under consideration,” he said.
“We’ve had some pretty good correspondence with some of the companies and we’re hopeful that we’ll secure some of the work from the third vessel onwards.
“All up they’re talking between six and nine ships.”
The arrangement to integrate two AMS stevedores into both the day and night shifts was made after the Eden-based operation staged a peaceful protest at the navy multipurpose wharf when the first components arrived aboard bulk carrier AAL Gladstone late last month.
A Patrick spokesperson said on Tuesday that the Port Kembla-based team are specialists in managing the discharge of wind turbines on the east coast of Australia, and are happy to integrate locals into their operation.
“We believe the integration of local labour is important to the Patrick operation, the Eden community and our customer,” the spokesperson said.
“Customer and Teamwork are core values of our organisation, and we are proud to be working as a united team with the people of Eden to deliver safe and efficient outcomes for our customer on the wind turbine project.”
Eden Chamber of Commerce president Peter Barber said that while specialist stevedoring and transport companies are currently handling the wind farm project, there are still benefits for the town.
Mr Barber said the delivery of components to the navy multipurpose wharf helps showcase the Port of Eden’s potential, and will open the eyes of other commercial interests who have the power to stimulate the local economy.
“This is what (former Member for Eden-Monaro) Mike Kelly had in mind when he negotiated all the obstacles to make this happen,” Mr Barber said.
“The navy multipurpose wharf is a very good facility, but it is under-utilised and has been for many years.
“I think it will open up the eyes of others; after seeing the wind farm experiment they will say, ‘Why can’t I do this?’
“Also, the people of Eden are a bit down at the moment and need something to lift them up.
“As a Chamber we welcome any form of activity and job creation, and the benefit of that is psychological to a certain extent.”