Structural, Civil & Geotechnical Engineering – Industrial Project Complete


Portland Chip Terminal
– Official Opening 

Services Provided: Structural, Civil and Geotechincal Engineering

Client: Australian Bluegum Plantations

Sector: Industrial / Building / Civil / Geotechnical


In October 2018 we attended the official opening of the new softwood woodchip facility (Stage 2) at the Portland Chip Terminal. The terminal is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. The terminal receives, processes, stores and loads onto ships vast quantities of hardwood and softwood plantation woodchip.

Both Stage 1 and Stage 2 were heralded a great success by the client with projects delivered within budget and on time with additional scope also achieved.


Structural, Civil and Geotechnical Engineering at Portland Chip terminal, Engineering Geelong, Aerial photo
Aerial photo of Portland Chip terminal Victoria | Photo Courtesy of Berry & Whyte Surveyors / ABP

Project Key Facts

Stage 1 – New Hardwood Chip Facility

Cost:   $15M
Year:   2009-2011
Size:    Stockpile Area 21,500m2; Trafficable Pavement Area 16,000m2

Stage 2 – Softwood Chip Stockpile Relocation

Cost:    $7M
Year:   2017-2018
Size:    Stockpile area 14,500m2

Our Scope of Works (Stage 1 & 2)

Consulting engineering design, documentation, supervision and advice including the following:


  • Reinforced concrete footings, steel screwpiles and reinforced concrete pile caps to support conveyors, mechanical equipment, large industrial buildings, truck ramps and truck unloaders.
  • Reinforced concrete and steel (in-situ & precast) structures for tunnels, hoppers, ramps, retaining walls, buildings.


  • Pavement: Geometric and structural design including entry roads, truck unloading areas, concrete and paver stockpile pavements.
  • Drainage: Site and stockpile collection and effluent treatment.
  • Setout: Complete setout drawings for all footings, pavements and civil/structural infrastructure to site specific coordinates.


  • Extensive soil testing, including boreholes up to 25m.
  • Geotechnical reports and advice.
  • Site supervision and consultation.

Some Key Project Challenges:

Very tight time frames from concept through to construction documentation of various packages of work to meet dynamic budget and site operational demands on a site. The site remained fully operational during design and construction.

Very poor founding material requiring combinations of large screw piles (up to 25m), subgrade stabilisation, floating raft slabs, adequate flexibility detailing and contingency for differential movements.

High and dynamic loads from large volumes of woodchip (in excess of 40m high stockpiles), 52 tonne dozers, full B-double trucks on ramps, bridges and truck unloaders which lift the entire truck, large/tall stacker conveyors.

Without a primary lead design consultant to coordinate design documentation, high levels of communication, coordination and initiative between all design, construction and client representatives were required.

For more information on our services, please visit our services page here.

All Photos Courtesy of Berry & Whyte Surveyors / ABP