TasRail Menu

Shiploader Project

The Australian Government is investing $64 million to fund the construction of TasRail’s new minerals shiploader and expand storage capacity in its Bulk Minerals Export Facility. Tasmanian company COVA Haywards is undertaking the design and construction of TasRail's new Shiploader and preliminary onsite works and detailed design are well underway. The new shiploader is planned to be commissioned in mid-2023.  

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


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.