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Cars and containers buoy Port profits

Significant surges in the number of motor vehicles and containerised goods imported through the Port of Townsville helped deliver modest profit growth in the face of another challenging year.In 2020-21, the Port of Townsville delivered a strong operating result of $14.3 million, up 3.3 per cent on the previous year, despite the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.While overall trade dropped to 7.7 million tonnes compared to 8.2 million tonnes the previous year, containerised trade rose 17 per cent and motor vehicle imports increased 34 per cent. The Port also recorded increased trade in exports of fertiliser and refined metals and imports of cement, fertiliser and petroleum products.Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said the result was a positive one as the global landscape continued to be redefined by uncertainty.“As the world changes, we have maintained a strong focus on keeping vital trade moving to support the people and the economy of North Queensland,” Ms Crosby said.“An overall decline in trade was driven by changes in mineral concentrates supply chains, with refineries sourcing larger volumes from mines in the region instead of overseas. This highlighted the strength of the North West Minerals Province to service refineries in our region.“We welcomed strong growth in containerised and motor vehicle imports, and North Queensland’s resilience in such times demonstrates how vital it is that we continue to facilitate trade for the diverse range of industries. On top of that our continuing capital works program will guarantee our region’s growth for the years to come.”The Port of Townsville’s investment in its trade facilitation throughout 2020-21 included: Continuation of the largest infrastructure project in the Port’s history, the $232 million Channel Upgrade project. Construction of the 2.2km rock wall and 62ha reclamation area is now complete and capital dredging is due to begin in late 2021. Completion of the $30 million Berth 4 Ship-to-Shore Crane and Cargo Area to grow container and general cargo trade in the region. Completion of a $4.5m truck staging area to reduce congestion and improve safety and efficiency of truck movements. Commissioning the new $3.3 million custom-built pilot vessel, Mantaray. Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Origin Energy to export hydrogen to Asia, and advanced investigations with a number of other proponents including Ark Energy and Edify Energy to develop clean energy projects that could drive significant economic growth for the region. The Port’s 2020-21 Financial Year was also punctuated by an increased commitment to sustainability with the release of Port Vision 2050, a strategic roadmap for the next 30 years. Port Vision 2050 outlines 12 strategic objectives and 27 initiatives across four priority areas to capture the Port's long-term vision and chart a course for achieving it.“We took some big strides toward achieving Port Vision 2050 in its first six months including the launch of a $50,000 Port Community Fund through which we were proud to support 17 community initiatives by charities, not-for-profits and community groups,” Ms Crosby said.“Other commitments under Post Vision 2050 are well underway including our efforts to become carbon neutral for port operations by 2025, planting one million additional native trees by 2050 and delivery of the $1.6 billion Port Expansion Project by 2050.”

Truckies driving efficiencies at the Port
Truckies driving efficiencies at the Port

A new $4.5 million truck staging area is open for business at the Port of Townsville, providing safer access for the 300,000 trucks that pass through the Port gates each year. Up to 20 triple road trains can assemble just outside the Port’s main gates on Benwell Road at any one time, easing congestion and improving safety on Port roads. The purpose built 13,000 square metre combined truck-trailer lay-up area provides comforts for truck drivers including toilet amenities and shaded outdoor rest areas. Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon said he was pleased the Port was providing a welcoming place for truck drivers where they can safely wait while vessels are loading. “The safe and efficient operations of our Ports is vital to ensure export markets can continue to grow,” he said. “This development will increase productivity and provide comforts to truck drivers who have been essential in keeping Queensland moving and industries operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.” Port of Townsville Acting Chief Infrastructure Officer Anton van Staden said the new truck staging area would reduce congestion on Port roads, to improve efficiencies with increasing trade and cargo at the Port. “Around 300,000 truck movements are recorded at the Port each year, with much of the cargo handled through the Port transported via road.  During vessel loading trucks have queued along Port roads for extended periods, disrupting traffic and posing potential safety risks.  This new truck staging area will significantly reduce congestion, thereby improving safety and the ease of cargo movements,’’ he said. Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said upgrading the Port of Townsville and its facilities was essential. “The Port is a key part of the city and a major economic driver which is why the new truck staging area is important,” he said.  This project will help increase efficiency at the Port of Townsville which is a key part of our economic recovery from COVID-19.” The area, which is in the process of being landscaped, caters for the breakdown and reassembly of road trains as required. Only Port authorised trucks will be allowed to access the facility, which includes lighting and surveillance cameras monitored by Port security. Local company RMS Engineering and Construction undertook the works, which generated 16 full-time jobs and provided employment for local tradies throughout the construction period.

Port builds North Queensland's hydrogen future
Port builds North Queensland's hydrogen future

North Queenslanders could be shipping 120,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen to South Korea in the next decade with the Port of Townsville and Ark Energy signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today. Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said a feasibility study will investigate the development of a renewable hydrogen facility focused on the transport industry at Sun Metals’ zinc refinery in Townsville, along with hydrogen export facilities at the Port of Townsville. “The Palaszczuk Government’s economic recovery plan is all about creating more jobs and more industries,” Mr de Brenni said. “That’s exactly what we’ll see in North Queensland as a major hub in Queensland’s hydrogen supply chain. “We’ve backed Sun Metals with a $5 million Hydrogen Industry Development Fund grant to kickstart hydrogen production in the North. “Now, through partnerships like this one, Queensland hydrogen will help decarbonise the world and create decent, secure jobs for regional Queenslanders. “Our key strategic advantage in Queensland is our State-owned ports.” Minister for Resources and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Port of Townsville was a key piece of infrastructure when it comes to developing hydrogen exports. “Sun Metals is one of Townsville’s most innovative businesses and it’s exciting to have their sister company, Ark Energy, plan to export renewable hydrogen to South Korea from Queensland’s publicly-owned port,” Mr Stewart said. Government Hydrogen Champion and member for Mundingburra Les Walker said this was a major step to developing a growing industry for Townsville. “There are potentially thousands of jobs in the hydrogen industry and Townsville is perfectly placed to take advantage of this,” Mr Walker said. “Already we’ve seen Ark Energy’s SunHQ hydrogen hub receive a grant through the Palaszczuk Government’s Hydrogen Industry Development Fund last year to produce renewable hydrogen in Townsville. “In April, the Port of Townsville signed a MOU with Origin Energy to facilitate hydrogen exports to Japan and today’s agreement with Ark Energy is another exciting step to developing a local hydrogen supply chain and the jobs that will flow from it.” Assistant Minister for Hydrogen Development and the 50% Renewable Energy Target by 2030 Lance McCallum said there were great opportunities to create a new hydrogen industry in Queensland. “Today’s MOU between the publicly owned Port of Townsville and Ark Energy will help secure new and emerging jobs in Townsville,” Mr McCallum said. “The Palaszczuk Government has been a leader in backing hydrogen for the future which is why we launched the $2 billion Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund as well as the Hydrogen Industry Development Strategy.” Ark Energy Chief Executive Officer Daniel Kim said the initial goal is to build North Queensland’s domestic hydrogen economy by supporting fleet owners to transition away from diesel to zero emission hydrogen fuel cell commercial vehicles, which can be refuelled at SunHQ. “Ultimately our goal is to export green hydrogen to customers in Asia starting with our parent company in South Korea whose hydrogen demand could be as high as 200,000 tonnes per annum. “We believe that Townsville has the potential to become a major global hub for hydrogen exports. The MOU with the Port of Townsville is an important step in our journey to investigate this exciting export opportunity, which has the potential to transform the regional economy of North Queensland.” Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said Townsville, with our deep-water port and proximity to Asia, has a strategic edge to become a global hub for producing and exporting hydrogen – the energy of the future. “This is another exciting renewable energy project for the Port as green hydrogen becomes one of the most sought-after energy products on the world market,” she said. “We believe Townsville is well placed to be at the forefront of this energy revolution, which will also boost our economic development, create new jobs and substantially reduce our carbon emissions. “We recently released our Port Vision 2050 – our roadmap for the next 30 years – which has a strong emphasis on action for climate change. “Facilitating the production, usage and export of green hydrogen is one of the Port’s strategic goals.”

Green is the colour of community spirit
Green is the colour of community spirit

Clean, green projects feature high on the agenda for the Port of Townsville’s inaugural $50,000 Community Fund. The first annual Community Fund recipients include a mix of 17 sports, arts, environmental and social projects. Environmentally-friendly projects were among the big winners which is in line with the Port of Townsville’s strategic vision for the next 30 years, Port Vision 2050. Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare received $6,500 to build a new shade house at its recently relocated Bush Garden Nursery at Rowes Bay. Other eco-conscious projects supported by the Fund include an upgrade to NQ Football’s solar system, the replacement of Townsville Sailing Club’s ageing beach mats with 100% recycled 'Mobi Mats', and the refurbishment of 10 laptops for African refugees via LiteHaus International.

High-tech exhibit celebrates rise of our Port City

A new exhibition at the Maritime Museum of Townsville is bringing history into the future showcasing the growth of Townsville and the Port over the past 157-years.   Rise of our Port City follows the development of the Port of Townsville – and the city spawned by the Port’s establishment – in a series of fun interactive displays including virtual reality, giant digital games, a virtual vessel tracker and a ship simulator.  Maritime Museum of Townsville Managing Curator Robert de Jong said the new exhibition embraced digital technology to create an exciting, hands-on environment for children and adults to learn about the importance of trade and the industries at the Port in North Queensland.  “We really wanted to strike a balance between education and entertainment as we pieced together this exhibition,” said Mr de Jong.  “Townsville owes its existence to its Port – it was the first business established here and the settlement sprung up around it. Today, we are still heavily reliant on shipping – 98 per cent of all of Australia’s goods arrive via sea – and North Queensland’s mining, farming, retail, construction and defence industries need the port to survive and thrive,” said Mr de Jong.  “Rise of our Port City aims to get people thinking about the Port’s role in their own lives. The combination of traditional museum display panels with VR experiences, videos, touch-screen computers and a ship simulator will hopefully also attract younger visitors such as school groups.”  Displays within the new exhibition include:  A series of virtual reality stories showcasing how the Port operates Videos about activities and events at the Port  A large touch-and-play table with nine educational games  A ship simulator letting users pilot a range of ships into harbours around the world  A live Vessel Tracker providing information on vessels passing through Cleveland Bay  A timeline featuring enthralling stories that have contributed to North Queensland’s development; and  Dusty old ledgers and shipping registers from the early 1900s and a collection of model indigenous watercraft and Port relics  Port of Townsville Chief Executive Officer Ranee Crosby said the exhibition would be a valuable means of further strengthening the Port’s connection with the local community.  “The Port exists to serve communities in the region, as it has done since 1864, so we are excited to welcome the community to share in the rich history and growth of their city port", said Ms Crosby.  "We enjoy welcoming many school groups and service clubs to the Port for tours, and this exhibition provides an exciting and interactive experience to showcase what goes on at the Port and across supply chains,” said Ms Crosby.  “We hope this exhibition will evolve in the years to come as we introduce further displays of port life and reach new milestones in the Port and Townsville’s history.”  The Maritime Museum of Townsville is located at 42-68 Palmer Street, South Townsville and is open 9.30am – 2pm Monday to Saturday.