NSW Ports works proactively with the community, local councils, authorities and port operators to monitor and minimise noise impacts on residential areas. NSW Ports has successfully implemented multiple measures to monitor, manage and reduce noise levels over many years.
Our ports and intermodal facilities operate 24/7 to facilitate the import and export of goods and support about 65,000 jobs.
Port and intermodal operations generate different types and levels of noise, the impacts of which may be exacerbated by factors such as weather patterns, topography and the location and design of residential dwellings. Noise is also generated by non-port related industries and commercial premises in surrounding areas.
“Noise events” (incidents prompting noise queries or complaints) tend to peak in colder months, when prevailing winds and cooler temperatures at night can form temperature inversions, where sound waves are refracted downwards, which amplifies noises over greater distances.
Increased noise monitoring and analysis
Since 2017, NSW Ports has operated permanent noise monitors around the Port Botany precinct to better understand the source of sounds and measure the effectiveness of noise reduction measures.
In January 2022, we installed an additional noise monitor in the area. We are also upgrading our real-time noise monitoring system, which will further improve and facilitate our identification and management of noise.
Working with port operators and shipping lines to reduce noise levels
NSW Ports has worked successfully with port operators to reduce beeping and banging sounds from the port precinct. This work is ongoing.
NSW Ports also works with shipping lines to assess and reduce low-frequency engine sounds from vessels. This has enabled us to identify a small number of ships that emit higher than average low-frequency sound and to work with their operators to implement specific noise reduction measures.
For example, our engagement with the operators of a particular class of vessel that calls into Port Botany on an almost weekly basis, and which had generated noise events, saw those ships switch to an auxiliary engine (AG) with a purpose-built silencer while berthed at Port Botany. Our noise monitors have shown a significant reduction in sound levels for those ships for all subsequent port visits, such that they have not given rise to noise events since this change was implemented.
Responding to noise complaints
All noise concerns are addressed through our proactive complaints management system. We have a 24/7 telephone contact line and online form on our website.
We encourage residents to contact us at the time of any noise-related issues on 1300 922 524 or to log their concerns via www.nswports.com.au/contact