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Port of Townsville half-yearly trade update

Page last updated on 19-02-2024.

Port of Townsville half-yearly trade update

20th February 2024

The halfway mark in the financial year has delivered positive trade results for Port of Townsville. 

To the end of Q2, throughput at the Townsville and Lucinda ports totalled 4.1 million tonnes, comprising 1.3 million tonnes imported and 2.8 million tonnes exported. 

Some strong performers have delivered a particularly positive outlook for growers, miners and car retailers across the region. 

Half-year Trade Highlights: 

  • Motor vehicle imports performed 36.8 per cent higher than the same period last year, prompting the Port to raise its expectations for the full financial year to more than 18,500 vehicles arriving through Townsville.  
  • Indonesia has become a top export market for raw sugar, increasing 67 per cent on the same period last year. On-budget exports to Japan and South Korea, and a 10-year high for raw sugar prices is further good news for growers across the Burdekin and Hinchinbrook regions.  
  • More than 90,000 head of cattle were exported via Townsville to the end of Q2, more than doubling (+131.6%) the volume for the same period last year. With cattle prices stabilising and Indonesia lifting its ban on Australian cattle, Port of Townsville has raised its annual forecast to 140,000 head.  
  • Relatively new commodities trading through the Port of Townsville have started to hit their stride with exports of phosphate rock 2.5 times higher than the same period last year, aquaculture feed surging 70 per cent year to date and exports of sorghum grain almost doubling on the same period last year. 

Port of Townsville General Manager Customer, Operations and Safety Drew Penny said it’s typical for seasonal factors to produce a strong start to the year for some trades and a slower one for others. 

“As north Australia’s largest multi-cargo port, Townsville is accustomed to seeing products such as sugar and molasses perform well at the start of the financial year, and drop off at the end of the season, making way for an uptick in other trades,” Mr Penny said. 

“The diversity of North Queensland’s trade is what makes us so resilient as a port and as a region. 

“It’s promising to see some of our newer commodities finding their footing as production ramps up on phosphate rock and bulk grain handler Sizer & Cogill begins to utilise their new depot at Mount McLaren to help local growers reach international markets via Townsville. We look forward to seeing new and emerging trades develop further as the Port continues to grow and new projects across North Australia come to fruition.”  

Resources and Critical Minerals Minister and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the Port of Townsville was at the heart of Townsville’s economy. 

“It’s exciting to see the diversity of commodities that go through our port,” he said. 

“Phosphate is an incredibly important material and there is a huge demand for it throughout the world and North Queensland is ready to take advantage of that.” 

More than $10 billion worth of goods are traded through the Townsville and Lucinda Ports each year. Trade through Townsville Port is expected to triple by 2050.