Austral estimates that the marine construction and maintenance market in the territory is worth an estimated US$330 million in the medium-term. Austral will use the barge to win new projects and boost its reputation as one of Australia's leading marine piling and maintenance contractors.
"Thanks to our strong client relationships and proven track record in the region, we're uniquely and strategically positioned to take advantage of the growing market here," said piling superintendent Mark Johnson. "The investment in this barge shows our commitment to our clients and to providing innovative, safe and efficient equipment for our people and the projects they work on.
"This platform gives us a clear competitive advantage and will move us into a larger market, allowing us to complete jobs that require larger cranes and foundation equipment."
The barge will be used on a wide range of projects, including piling and drilling; wharf, jetty and bridge construction; and marine structural installations and maintenance. And although it will be based in Dampier, Johnson said there are opportunities for the wider Keller Group. "One of the advantages is that although the barge is very large, it's also modular," he explained. "That makes it fairly easy to transport over sea or land, which means we can use it nationally and internationally throughout Keller."