More than 130 maritime and logistics experts will gather at the Port of Townsville this morning with Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, Townsville Port CEO, Ranee Crosby and Ports Australia Chief Executive Mike Gallacher for the opening of the Australian Ports Business and Operations Conference.
The conference will start with a tour of the port followed with a demonstration of a pilot transfer by helicopter conducted by Aviator Group.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said with the volume of freight moving across Queensland expected to grow more than 20 per cent over the next decade, ports were critical to the state's economy.
"Our publicly-owned ports are a tremendous asset and our government has recognised the need to invest in them," Mr Bailey said.
"The Port of Townsville has a proud history stretching back more than 150 years and is about to embark on its biggest expansion ever.
"We're looking forward to opening its gates and sharing some of that history and the plans ahead with visitors here for Australian Ports Business and Operations Conference."
Ports Australia Chief Executive, Mike Gallacher said, "Ports across Australia provide the economic gateways moving over 98 per cent of Australia's physical trade.
"Townsville is hosting people from around the nation that helps businesses, farmers and households prosper.
"I'm looking forward to hearing from experts in fields from accounting through to environmental science. Their knowledge will help improve the services ports provide across the nation.
"We are excited to be in Townsville and to bring the sector to this fantastic city. Townsville Port is a nationally significant port, we are looking forward to hearing more about the opportunities for growth in Northern Australia.
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said, "we are thrilled to welcome the nation's ports industry to our city and to showcase the Port of Townsville to the rest of Australia as we are in one of the most exciting periods in the port's 155- year history.
"We have a series of major capacity-expanding projects in the pipeline including the $193 million Channel Upgrade, the $48 million intermodal facility and just last week we announced a $30 million Crane and Cargo Terminal," she said.
The two-day forum will focus on national and international trends in port planning and development, climate change, environmental sustainability initiatives, shipping trends and the role of ports in growing economies and societies.