Steering The Ship

PoMC LogoThe Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) is Australia's largest container port, handling close to forty percent of Australia’s container trade, thus playing a crucial role in the country’s transport network and economy.

The PoMC was limited in the dimensions and load size of container vessel it could accept due to the depths of the Port at the entrance and Yarra River Mouth. The PoMC initiated a Channel Deepening Project (CDP) to ensure Port Phillip Bay could accommodate larger container vessels and that would consolidate Melbourne’s status as Australia’s premier container port.

The dredging project removed more than 22 million cubic metres of sand and silt from existing channels - an area equal to approximately one percent of Port Phillip Bay. Data retrieved from the monitoring of environmental conditions during the construction phase was measured for compliance against the Environmental Management Plan. SRA Information Technology was asked to implement its EnviroSystm product as a component of the technology solution that was delivered by BAE Systems Australia.

Meeting the Challenge >>

The PoMC Channel Deepening Project was an environmentally sensitive project.  Port Phillip Bay is not only an essential part of the state’s business infrastructure but is also one of Victoria's key natural and recreational assets. Environmental monitoring was vital in order to be able to manage any potential effects of the dredging during the project works. To ensure the project was managed with minimal impact to the environment a number of environmental and operational monitoring programs were implemented.

SRA consultants worked closely with both the PoMC and BAE Systems staff to ascertain the project’s unique monitoring requirements. This ensured the EnviroSystm product was configured to provide the most efficient and effective solution.

Outstanding Features >>

  • Automated, mission critical operational and environmental monitoring.
  • Complete, yet flexible, system that could be implemented as an ‘out of the box’ solution.
  • Real time monitoring of turbidity throughout the Port was enabled through the ‘Dashboard’ functionality. Automated alerts were setup to notify when turbidity was nearing and had breached the acceptable threshold.
  • Real time tracking of dredging vessels was provided via EnviroSystm GIS capabilities.
  • Monitoring aspects for this solution included:
  • Turbidity of water
  • Vessel tracking
  • Rainfall, river flow & height
  • Noise (airborne & underwater)
  • Ocean swell
  • Water sampling
  • Plant and aquatic life

Comprehensive Benefits >>

This automated solution benefitted the PoMC with time to make precise operational decisions due to readily available information, rather than having to extract, validate, manipulate and analyse data on the fly.

The solution could be configured ‘out of the box’, instead of having to build a system to meet the client’s needs. This allowed the PoMC to save both time and money.

Turbidity thresholds were setup such that alerts would be sent and decisions could be made to stop dredging for a period of time. The resulting impact, due to dredging, on the marine environment was able to be minimised.

Vessels were tracked ‘on-screen’ via real time GIS functionality. This ensured that dredging could be carried out confidently within the designated area. Vessels venturing into, ‘no-go zones’, would trigger an alarm, at which point the vessel could return to the dredging area and resume operation. This occurred only once during the whole period of the project, demonstrating the importance of the functionality.

Leading Edge Technology >>

SRA Information Technology develops and supports the award-winning EnviroSystm solution. EnviroSystm is an enterprise-wide application which offers users a configurable platform to collate, analyse, present and report environmental based information. It operates on a proactive basis by polling, auto loading and validating data. The web-based solution offers accessibility anywhere, anytime and is adaptable to new monitoring requirements. In addition to this, EnviroSystm provides for real-time analysis, dash boarding, scheduled reporting capabilities, integration of spatial and temporal data sets and informs when events are triggered. EnviroSystm solutions are configured ‘out of the box’ to cater for requirements in a variety of sectors including; mining, oil, gas, ports, pollutants, emissions, NPI reporting, NGER, energy, water, biodiversity, waste and all levels of government.

Further Information >>

Find out more abou the Channel Deepening Project at the Port of Melbourne website

The Office of the Environmental Monitor also has some further information at


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