Port investment pays off
The return on an almost $10 million investment at the Port of Mackay has been tested and measured.
North Queensland Bulk Ports completed upgrades to berths 3 and 4 over the last 18 months.
Stevedore NSS discharged one of the world’s largest automobile roll-on roll-off (RORO) vessels in ten hours this week.
The Höegh Trapper, was shipping new and used mining vehicles and machinery destined for the Bowen Basin.
At almost 200m long and with the capacity to carry up to 8,500 cars, it is one of the largest of its type in the world.
The discharge would have taken three days using conventional cranes said NSS Mackay Coordinator Kevin Virgona.
“On RORO vessels, static pieces (of cargo) are loaded onto Mafi Trailers. A tug slots into the trailer which also allows quick discharge,” Mr Virgona said.
“This is the third and largest RORO vessel we’ve handled in Mackay. It was all mining equipment. Dump trucks and loaders, trays, cranes, excavators and components.
“The seven NSS staff handled the discharge quite easily. There’s greater capacity (at the berth) after the upgrade and there’s plenty of room at the port for that type of cargo.”
North Queensland Bulk Ports said Höegh had committed a fourth RoRo vessel to berth at the Port of Mackay in April, demonstrating the international shipping company’s satisfaction with the port’s facilities and associated logistics.
NQBP chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin said the upgrade that enabled large, international RoRo vessels to the port also had a flow-on effect for the community.
“Large mining equipment can now be shipped directly to the region and assembled locally, providing the opportunity for local jobs growth,” he said.
Significantly, this is the first time that the Port of Mackay will facilitate an exchange of import, export and coastal cargoes at the one time.
Norwegian-based Höegh Autoliners has increased its direct shipping service to Australia and New Zealand from the USA and Mexico, providing Mackay and the Bowen Basin with a direct link to North American mining equipment manufacturers.
"Our New Horizon class vessels are designed with this kind of over-dimensional cargo in mind, and it is great to have an opportunity to serve our customers better by landing their cargo closer to its final destination," Höegh’s Australian representative Brendan Wallis said.
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