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VICTORIAN REGIONAL CHANNELS AUTHORITY

Channels House - Level 2, 235 Ryrie St Geelong, Vic 3220
Phone: +61 3 5225 3500


VRCA

OUR ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

The Victorian Regional Channels Authority (VRCA) began operations on 1 April 2004. The VRCA was established to manage the commercial navigation of the channels in Geelong port waters and to oversee the Channel Management for the Port of Portland and Hastings. The Authority was established by the Victorian Government under the Port Management Act 1995 and the Transport Integration Act 2010.

In managing the Geelong channels, the VRCA's key responsibilities include:

  • Management of shipping control
  • Provision of navigation aids
  • Channel management
  • Marine environment protection
  • Safety and security
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Ships calling into Geelong getting larger

The port of Geelong is the largest regional port in Victoria and can lay claim to being one of the largest multi-cargo bulk facilities in Australia.
Crude oil and petroleum products account for the majority of trade in the port in terms of volume, with grain, woodchips and fertiliser also making a significant contribution to trade.

The major facilities at the port are located around the shore of Corio Bay, from Point Wilson in the north to Point Henry to the east. There are 14 berths available including specialist bulk and general cargo berths.

ships getting larger

The port helps generate billions of dollars for the region and is one of the key economic players for the City of Geelong. Handling 12 million tonnes of cargo a year, it is largely responsible for about 5,000 local jobs.

With such an important role, it is essential that the port’s main artery, the shipping channel, is kept clear and maintained in such a way as to ensure the safe and efficient passage of ships into and out of Geelong at all times.
One of the Victorian Regional Channels Authority’s (VRCA) principal functions is to exercise general direction and control of the movement and safety of all vessels in port waters.

Since its establishment, the VRCA has invested in a series of risk remediation strategies to maintain and improve safety in Corio Bay.
These include the installation of 78 beacons in the shipping channel equipped with high visibility markings and solar-powered lights, new state-of-the-art tide and wind gauges, a sophisticated docking device at the refinery berths, an AIS monitoring system and the establishment of a Vessel Traffic System (VTS).
The VRCA has also carried out a series of studies to identify the trends that are likely to occur in ship sizes in the various trades that service the port of Geelong. The aim of the studies is to establish what the future holds for the port and channels.

VRCA chief executive, Captain Peter McGovern pointed out that trade – especially bulk trade - is not static.
“Older smaller ships are less economical and cargo parcel sizes are larger in today’s world. Trade is not static.” Capt. McGovern said. “The reality is that as ships in the world fleet are replaced the newer ships are bigger and that has ramifications for the Geelong access channel.”