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Westport Update September

Westport project update for September 2023

18 September 2023

Westport Update

Most of the stuff we buy day-to-day comes to WA in a shipping container, making our container supply chain critical to our way of life and the success of our economy.
We're still in the early planning stages for Westport, but because of the significance of container trade, the scale of this project, and the importance of Cockburn Sound, we’re doing lots of extra work now to make sure we get the best outcome for everyone.

In this update, we take a closer look at how simulations, ancient knowledge and new marine science are shaping design of the port and supply chain.

We've also launched an online survey so you can tell us your thoughts about Westport.

To dive deeper into the technical aspects, check out our Navigate Newsletter.

We want to hear from you!

We know there’s lots of questions about Westport. To help us understand what's important to you, we'd appreciate you taking 5 minutes to complete this survey. Your feedback will help us address the things you care about most.

Click the button below to let us know your thoughts about Westport.

Complete Survey

Ancient knowledge shaping design

Cockburn Sound, or Derbal Nara, and surrounds is an area rich with cultural knowledge, stories and songlines of the Whadjuk and Gnaala Karla Booja Noongar Peoples.

This year we've been working with an Indigenous-owned and operated business called Winyama, who specialise in location intelligence, to capture and map these cultural and spiritual values.

This involved interviewing Aboriginal knowledge holders to document sites of significance and the stories connected to them.

Our team has been given permission to use this data, so that locations of cultural significance can be considered through the Westport design process.

We will continue working with key groups of people, including Traditional Owners, industry and the community, to develop an optimal port and supply chain design that will enhance WA’s economy, environment, and community.

Testing the future terminal

Using state-of-the-art virtual simulation software, the Westport team watched as 366m-and 399m-long ships entered Cockburn Sound’s proposed new channels.

The real-time simulation tested different sized vessels within Cockburn Sound under various operating, wave and weather conditions, to optimise the depths and length of proposed shipping channels needed to support a new port.

This simulation and other studies are building our understanding of how we can design new shipping channels to minimise dredging needs, and therefore environmental impact, while supporting safe and efficient navigation for ships.

Learn more in our September edition of Navigate.

Snapper research for tracking hatchery releases

As part of Westport’s partnership with the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI), researchers at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) are evaluating methods that could be used in the future to track hatchery-reared snapper fingerlings into Cockburn Sound.

Photos of hatchery snapper are being analysed to identify physical differences to wild snapper. Researchers are also looking at whether there are any genetic differences between snapper in Cockburn Sound and along the lower west coast. This will help scientists identify whether hatchery reared snapper have the same genetic diversity, and if they are as well adapted as wild snapper in Cockburn Sound.

This is one tiny snapshot of the $13.5 million WAMSI research program happening in Cockburn Sound, involving more than 100 scientists, which is shaping design of Westport.

Developing a port will have local environmental impacts, but we are planning this project to be Australia’s first ‘regenerative’ port, and environmentally positive for Cockburn Sound in the long-term.

Learn more here.

What’s next for Westport?

Here’s a snapshot of what’s coming up for Westport:

  • Late 2023: Identification of final option for container terminal and supply chain
  • Late 2023: Anketell-Thomas Road freight corridor updated concept design
  • Early 2024: Referral to EPA to determine level of environmental assessment
  • Mid 2024: Submission of the Westport Business Case to the WA Government


To stay updated with the latest Westport news, including announcements on design options, environmental assessment, and engagement opportunities make sure to subscribe to updates!

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