27/09/2019 - 12:06

Port Hedland port increases shipping capacity by 6.9%

27/09/2019 - 12:06

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Potential shipping capacity at Port Hedland has been increased by 40 million tonnes per annum to 617mtpa, according to the state government.

Port Hedland achieved a total annual throughput of 513.3mt for the 2019 financial year.

Potential shipping capacity at Port Hedland has been increased by 40 million tonnes per annum to 617mtpa, according to the state government.

The state government said the annual base capacity allocations for each port user would remain the same, but the increased capacity would allow all port users more capacity above their allocated tonnages by accessing D-class shipping opportunities.

It said that was a result of state government and industry investment at the port, including capital dredging, innovative marine technology, and other port efficiencies.

This includes a recently completed three-year, $120 million dredging works program, which included the removal of ‘high spots’ in the channel.

The sizes of ships coming into Port Hedland have increased significantly in recent years, with 45 per cent of vessels now carrying more than 200,000 deadweight tonnage, compared to less than 10 per cent in 2009.

The new capacity modelling was undertaken by the Pilbara Ports Authority.

Ports Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the extra shipping capacity in Port Hedland aligned strongly with the state government’s strategy to drive economic development and jobs in the Western Australia’s north.

“The additional capacity was the result of ongoing investment in world-leading port innovations and technology and provides port users more opportunities to maximise the amount of product they ship through Port Hedland,” she said.

“Providing this extra capacity will give industry the confidence to continue to invest in the Pilbara’s resources sector, helping to drive regional jobs, trade and royalties that benefit all Western Australians.”

Shipping capacity at the Port has been a hot topic in recent times.

Last year, several major iron ore miners josted for control of Atlas Iron, as it held rights to develop a new shipping berth at the port via its interest in the North West Alliance.

However, it emerged during the Atlas takeover battle that the state government had withdrawn the North West Alliance's priority development rights.

In February, Pilbara Ports Authority chief executive Roger Johnston said he believed the maximum capacity at the port could be increased to around 700mpta.

The Port of Port Hedland achieved a total annual throughput of 513.3mt for the 2019 financial year, a down 1 per cent from the previous year. 

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