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Shiploader Project

The mining industry will continue to deliver by rail and road (depending on the projects’ location and scale) to the new Shiploader, that will load material at approximately twice the rate of the current infrastructure and provide industry with significant reliability, environmental and safety benefits.

TasRail will continue to provide regular updates to the community on this important project.  

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about the project



May 2024

Our contractor has been busy with the installation of the Shiploader belt, ropes, and chains, and final electrical items in the wharf gallery units. In conjunction with the final fit out, commissioning of the luffing winch has also commenced. Civil works for the new Shiploader rails have also begun.

April 2024

Commissioning of individual Shiploader components commenced this month at the Port of Burnie. The switchroom, luffing winch and hopper units functionality is being verified through a vigorous testing program to ensure the new equipment is performing to specification before its final installation on Berth 5. Images above and below depict material product testing of two Hopper units within our Bulk Mineral Export Facility. TasRail is pleased to report that the units performed as expected, with each unit ready for integration into our new Shiploader and Gallery conveyor system.

March 2024

The Shiploader Project team is preparing for the commissioning of our new hopper units. The hoppers, which were fabricated at The Engineering Company on the northwest coast, will provide a number of improvements to Bulk Handling operations at our Burnie export facility. They feature an increase loading capacity (2200 tonnes per hour), improved technologies (communicate by both wireless signal and local control station fitted to each unit); and greater flexibility (units are fully portable to effectively load out material from any bay in the BMEF). 


February 2024

Above and below:The new Shiploader wharf gallery units are being cladded and fit out with services (electrical cables, water, vacuum pipes, and fire detection system) in preparation for installation. There are eight gallery units that will fit together and be elevated above Berth 5 to allow a 220m long conveyor belt to deliver material into vessels.


January 2024


Timelapse cameras are now capturing the exciting progress on TasRail’s Shiploader Replacement Project at the Port of Burnie. Here contractors can be seen installing the stairways and guarding to the Shiploader apex, fitting out the luffing winch platform and installing the Shiploader boom section. The boom section is an integral part of the new Shiploader as it houses the telescopic chute – a critical component of our shiploading capability. The new Shiploader will have double the loading capacity compared to the existing asset.  Contractors are now focused on the internal fit-out, which includes the installation of new electrical equipment.


December 2023

Above and below: At the end of the month residents of Burnie, Rosebery and Tullah received a copy of our latest shiploader brochure. It highlights the project progesss and the difference that it will make to the mining export industry.

November 2023

Above and below: Excavations to prepare for earthing components and HV Transformer installation have now commenced for TasRail’s Shiploader Project. The works involve installation of new cabling and cable trays, removal of a maintenance workshop, pouring of concrete footings and trenching. Works like this involve a significant amount of coordination, with three contractors on the ground (Holland, IFE and Haywards) amid the existing busy operations of the Bulk Mineral Export Facility and shiploading activities. TasNetworks will mobilise to site in late November to commence the installation.

October 2023

Above and below: A big month for the Shiploader Project with the placement of the luff winch platform and apex atop the structure. Fabrication of major components is now complete and our focus shifts to assembly of the Shiploader and wharf gallery sections at the Port of Burnie and Haywards at Western Junction. Electrical fit-out of the two new switchrooms and placement of cable trays within our existing infrastructure will direct power throughout the new system, in preparation for factory acceptance testing over the coming months.



September 2023

Fit-out and assembly of major Shiploader components continues both on and off-site. Electrical contractors have installed cabling and cable trays to the Switchrooms, and hydraulic fit-out of the Hopper units is almost completed (pictured above and below). External cladding of gallery units has also commenced. Factory acceptance testing will begin soon, as will the construction of the Shiploader’s third level.


July 2023

Above and below: Tasmanian Heavy Haulage delivered the second MCC Switchroom for the new Shiploader this week. The switchroom is responsible for regulating high vaultage power transferred from the Shiploader to other componants within the system (Drives, Conveyors and Hoppers) and contains vital VCD and PLC equipment needed for operation. The first Switchroom and transformer unit was installed in May of this year.



June 2023

Above and below: The arrival of four of the eight wharf gallery units at the Port of Burnie marked a milestone in our shiploader project as they are an integral part of the new system. The units, which weigh over 34 tonnes, were transported by oversized Tasmanian Heavy Haulage vehicles and guided by Road Transport Safety Officers from Western Junction near Launceston.


May 2023

Above and below: With the installation of the Shiploader bogies onto their temporary rails completed, COVA Haywards has now commenced construction of the Shiploader, erectiing the portal frame to its second level. The switchroom has also been installed. Over the coming months, deliveries of the remaining oversized components will continue and we will see the external cladding, handrails and stairs being placed.

Shiploader bogies have been placed on crane rails.

A crane lifting the switchroom into place.

Shiploader up to level two.

Deliveries continue to arrive at the Port of Burnie from Western Junction, Somerset and Latrobe.


April 2023

Above and below: The Shiploader Project is progressing, with delivery of major components to the Port of Burnie. This is expected to continue throughout April and May. Shiploader portal beams, Stairway frames, Bracing and Bogies have arrived in preparation for construction. Components have been delivered by Tasmanian Heavy Haulage, Glen Hughes Trucking and The Engineering Company. Unloading operations were completed by Hayward’s using a 15 and 20 tonne mobile slew cranes.

March 2023

TasRail is very proud of the fact that all of the structural steel components for our new Shiploader have been fabricated in Tasmania at Haywards (Western Junction) and The Engineering Company (Somerset). Thanks to Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Michael Ferguson for showing his support. This is a major construction project for Tasmania with a significant boost to local employment and skills during the construction phase.

February 2023

The Engineering Company at Somerset is putting the final touches on the bogies for our new Shiploader.

Inspection works of the wharf structure at the Port of Burnie preparation for  installation of the new Shiploader this year.

January 2023

TasRail welcomed the opportunity to brief industry and the community on the progress of the Shiploader Project at the final Business Northwest breakfast for 2022.

December 2022

Fabrication of the reclaim hopper units is being undertaken by The Engineering Company (TEC) at Somerset in NW Tasmania. This is the top section of the hopper bin.

The transfer chute hood for the reclaim hopper units being fabricated at TEC.

Assembled Shiploader Bogies after final painting of the guards. Wheels are protected and will be painted next.



November 2022

Above and below: Haywards' Western Junction site has been a hive of fabrication activity with many large components now completed. Transportation is set to begin early in the new year.


October 2022

Fabrication is in full swing for TasRail's Shiploader project at Haywards at Breadalbane and TEC at Somerset. The first wharf gallery unit is now complete. This kicks off Haywards' scheduled fabrication plan that sees a wharf gallery unit completed every fortnight. The Project team are preparing for preliminary works onsite prior to COVA Haywards mobilising. These works include installation of a new wheel wash, relocation of a fibre optic cable and removal of redundant services.


September 2022

Last month Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King and Tasmanian Senator Anne Urquhart toured our Shiploader site and Bulk Minerals Export Facility at the Port of Burnie. The $64 million Shiploader Project is fully funded by the Australian Government.

The new shiploader will generate greater loads on the wharf structure. It is now being assessed for minor strengthening works to the concrete headstocks. Vertical borehole drilling is being completed in locations on Berth 5 and 6, over two stages throughout August and September. Core sampling will be collected and analysed.  

August 2022

Above and below x 2: Fabrication is progressing well on key Shiploader components in northwest Tasmania. The Shiploader bogies frame componentry is starting to take shape and is on schedule for completion in late August. The fabrication of the telechute is also underway.

July 2022

The design phase of TasRail's new Shiploader is nearing completion, with the final elements being confirmed for the wharf, Shiploader, and reclaim hopper design. Once finalised, this will allow shop drawings and fabrication to commence.

June 2022



The Shiploader Project Team and COVA Haywards have been working through the 90 per cent design review documentation for the Shiploader and reclaim hoppers this month in conjunction with key stakeholders.This is a key component of the design phase and provides an opportunity to explore the design philosophy and finer details in the latest 3-D model. 

May 2022

Above and below x 2: The fabrication of key Shiploader components has now begun at Somerset in northwest Tasmania. 

In the coming months, major fabrication of the Shiploader structure and wharf conveyor units will start at Western Junction in the north of the State. There are an estimated 140 jobs linked to the design and construction of the new Shiploader.

Above and below: A geotechnical investigation was completed  this month to determine the ground conditions of the wharf area. The investigation involved drilling several boreholes to find the depth of natural rock. This will inform the foundation design of the new structures.


April 2022

Above and below: At the end of the month residents of Burnie received a copy of our shiploader brochure. It highlights the benefits of the project, the number of jobs involved in the design and construction phase, and its importance to the Tasmanian mining industry.

At the start of the month a HAZOP workshop (a hazard and operability study) was held with key stakeholders from TasRail and COVA Haywards to discuss the operational hazards for the new Shiploader. The feedback and suggestions have been used to inform the design of the system, particularly from a maintenance perspective.


March 2022

Above and below: COVA Haywards and its subcontractor, BridgePro, undertaking site investigation works on Berth 5 at the Port of Burnie. BridgePro have scanned the wharf deck to confirm there is no reinforcement or pre-stressed members in the location for the new Shiploader crane rails.


 February 2022

Site investigations being undertaken at Burnie for upgrade works to enable the new Shiploader to be supplied with High Voltage power. 

Project team members trying out a proposed remote controller for the new Shiploader.

The supplier has provided a demonstration-only model so that TasRail can customise the layout and switches.


January 2022

The Shiploader design continues to progess, with the layout and access ways being defined.

An internal view of the Shiploader looking at the mechanical design of the conveyor systems.


December 2021


The design, to date, of the new Shiploader boom.

An internal stakeholder engagement session with some of TasRail’s Operators and Maintainers at Burnie.  


November 2021

Above and below: Engineering and technical subject matter advisors for the Shiploader Project undertaking a site visit of the existing facility with key TasRail project members.



A Safety in Design Workshop for the new Shiploader was completed in Burnie, involving key operational, maintenance and safety personnel from TasRail. The workshop was facilitated by COVA Haywards to assess the new Shiploader design for potential hazards and risk, and enhanced operational and maintenance safety features.


October 2021

Shiploader design drawing at 30 per cent completion demonstrating the extent of shuttle travel, luffing range, and long travel.

Survey of the existing Shiploader and wharf completed by PDA surveyors to assist with design integration of existing wharf infrastructure.

The Project Team will undertake further site investigation works for the upgrade of existing site power supply from LV to HV power.


September 2021

Above and below: TasRail COO Stephen Kerrison, TasRail CEO Steven Dietrich, Managing Director Crisp Bros. Haywards Steve Edmunds, and COVA Haywards Managing Director Ben Evans at the formal execution of the Design and Construction Contract for TasRail's new shiploader at the Port of Burnie.

August 2021


Cova Group and TasRail staff completing a site inspection of the existing infrastructure in the BMEF Shed. 

Inspecting the existing reclaim hopper system within the BMEF Shed to determine how the new design for reclaiming materials for shiploading can be optimised.

Above and below: Haywards completing an investigation of the wharf deck on Berth 5 for the design and installation of new crane rails for the new Shiploader. 


Project team members from TasRail and Cova Haywards completing an initial site inspection at Burnie Port. 

July 2021

Tasmanian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael Ferguson MP, Federal member for Braddon Mr Gavin Pearce, Tasmanian Resources Minister Guy Barnett MP, TasRail CEO Steven Dietrich, TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald, and Member for Braddon Felix Ellis MP at the Design and Construct Tender announcement in Burnie.

Shiploader concept drawing.



The arrival of four of the eight wharf gallery units at the Port of Burnie marked a milestone in our shiploader project as the gallery is an integral part of the new system. The units, which weigh over 34 tonne, were transported by oversized Tasmanian Heavy Haulage vehicles and guided by Road Transport Safety Officers from Western Junction near Launceston.