A diver services monitoring frames during a dredge trial in northern Moreton Bay.
A diver services monitoring frames during a dredge trial in northern Moreton Bay.
22 April 2015

The University of Queensland has joined forces with Australia’s largest multi-cargo port  for a $2 million research project to develop new port-related engineering solutions.

The three-year Port of Brisbane project is one of the first ventures by UQ’s Australian Institute for Business and Economics, set up last year as a new model for university-business research collaboration.

Institute Director Paul Gollan said UQ School of Civil Engineering research teams would focus on channel deepening, land reclamation and other port activities.

“Through the institute, private industry can access the in-depth knowledge of hundreds of UQ researchers,” Professor Gollan said.

“The institute focuses on using UQ’s expertise to tackle practical problems and come up with workable solutions for industry.

“Under this new venture, the University and the Port of Brisbane will each provide $1 million to improve Queensland’s research and development of port-related technology.”

Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd Interim Chief Executive Officer Darryl Mutzelburg said the partnership with UQ created an ideal fusion between industry and research that would deliver significant benefits to the port.

“As a world-class infrastructure asset, the Port of Brisbane is continually growing, and we are always seeking practical and sustainable solutions to help build capacity in the most efficient and sustainable manner,” Mr Mutzelburg said.

“The Port of Brisbane will work with UQ to undertake innovative research and development into the port’s land reclamation and shipping channel optimisation strategies.

“UQ’s first-class research and engineering capabilities will complement our in-house expertise, resulting in valuable collaboration on a range of strategic projects.

“I’m confident the work undertaken throughout the partnership will deliver results that will help future-proof the Port of Brisbane as the state’s economic engine.”

School of Civil Engineering Head José Torero said ports provided a challenging research environment for academic staff and students.

“This relationship will allow students – from first-year undergraduates up to PhD level – to work in a world-class port facility, exposing them to practical issues facing these ports regionally and globally,” Professor Torero said.

“In turn, the Port of Brisbane will have access to world-class researchers as well as the prospect of graduate engineers familiar with the port’s operations and development needs.”

Similar engagement had already occurred in a successful channel-deepening trial in northern Moreton Bay.

“Numerous geotechnical and environmental issues surrounding the dredging had to be overcome and UQ researchers played a critical role in informing the process,” Professor Torero said.

The port’s subsequent ability to bring larger container vessels through the channel produced identifiable increase in the port’s capacity.”

Media: Melanie Bowles, UQ Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, 0407 123 135, m.bowles1@uq.edu.au. Port of Brisbane Authority, Emily Griffiths, 0467 747 070, Emily.Griffiths@portbris.com.au.