Port of Newcastle diversification bearing fruit


The hunter-region facility’s bid to spread its service option is showing promise, with import/export volumes strengthening despite global supply chain challenges.

New figures released today reveal that the port is seeing three per cent more ships calling in.

Nick Livesey, Acting CEO spruiked the port as facilitating some $37 billion to the national economy last year.

“In 2021, Port of Newcastle handled 2,266 ship movements and 166.1 million tonnes of cargo including coal, dry bulk, bulk liquids, roll-on roll-off cargo, general and project cargoes and containers,” Nick says.

“This represents an increase of 1.6mt of overall trade compared with 2020, with an extra 3 per cent of vessels visiting the port in 2021.”

The year’s trade saw records held for almost a quarter of a century tumble across a number of key export commodities.

Matthew Swan, the port’s acting executive manager business development, says there has been increased demand for diversified trades across the board, including wheat, fertiliser, steel, cement, fuels, project cargo and aluminium.

“Achieving highest diversified trade volumes recorded since 1997, last year saw fertiliser imports grow 69% year on year in 2021, with over 720,000 tonnes exported through the port,” he says.

“After years of long drought impacting supply, wheat exports also surged, up 900 per cent on 2020 with over 3 million tonnes of the commodity travelling through the port.”

Global demand for Australian coal dipped slightly, but overall remained resilient and consistent with records of the past five years despite China-imposed trade restrictions, and the record thermal coal spot price.

“Mass tonnes of aluminium exported, predominantly to Korea and Japan, increased to its highest annual export rate in five years, with over 90,000 metric tonnes passing through the Port, valued at $295 million,” Matthew says.

“Strong demand from NSW infrastructure and construction sectors supported steel trade also reaching its highest import/export levels since the closure of BHP Steelworks.”

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