New roll-on roll-off terminal is green

A new roll-on roll-off automotive terminal in Australia’s largest port boasts a six-star Green Star rating, a symbol of the shift towards more environmentally friendly industrial facilities. Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Well-designed, sustainable homes and offices are now common across the country, but similar initiatives on large-scale industrial sites have proved more challenging to engineer, Green Building Council CEO Romilly Madew said.

“Leadership in the industrial sector has been slower than other sectors, but it is undoubtedly emerging,” she said.

The bulk car import-export terminal in Port Melbourne’s Webb Dock is designed to handle one million vehicles in a post-car production era, as Australia’s major car makers Ford, Holden and Toyota wind back local manufacturing and export operations.

The terminal, named Mirrat (Melbourne International RoRo Automotive Terminal), is operated by a subsidiary of Scandinavian shipping giant Wallenius Wilhelmsen which won the contract in 2012 to design, construct and run the facility, opening the first stage in April this year.

Mirrat head of commercial Jed Smith said the new terminal had an increased capacity while reducing truck movements on surrounding roads by co-locating vehicle distributors nearby.

Up to 8000 cars arrive on a single ship and are unloaded at one of the terminal’s three berths, they are then moved within days to neighbouring yards where they are distributed to dealers across Victoria.

“Prior to the new terminal, cars were trucked to Laverton. Now those facilities have set up next door,” Mr Smith said.

Key green features include using 200,000 tonnes of recycled concrete, brick and glass in the terminal’s construction, concrete with high fly ash content, solar panels providing 80% of the administrative building’s power and large-scale water-recycling systems.

“There’s a very heavy focus on sustainability throughout the whole facility,” Mr Smith said.

All of the site’s grey water is captured rainwater from two warehouses (one 8000 square metre free-span, the other 2000 sq m) with the capacity to hold and consume more than 2 million litres.

The bulk is used in the terminal’s quarantine cleaning pits. Storm water runoff from the 20,000 sq m of hardstand is channelled into reed-bed ponds and plant filtered before being flushed down drains.

The $70 million terminal now ships 30% of Victoria’s vehicle market, including exporting up to 60,000 locally built Toyota cars.

When complete in 2018, it will handle all imports – around 300,000 vehicles a year – taking over from Appleton Dock’s RoRo facility. It will cover 359,000 sq m and have 11,000 car “laydown” bays tracked by an online vehicle booking and collection system.

It is also used for importing and exporting industrial equipment, heavy agricultural machinery, trucks, buses, railway carriages, helicopters and military apparatus, Mr Smith said.

Ms Madew said the RORO terminal was one of 33 industrial projects to achieve either a Green Star rating for design or construction.

In Mirrat’s case it gained stars for both design and construction.

“Last year, Frasers Property Australia gained portfolio certification for 42 industrial properties with the Green Star – Performance rating tool, and was the first to do so. “There is a real opportunity for companies to seize a market advantage by positioning themselves as leaders in sustainable property,” she said.