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A surge in imports of motor vehicles and containerised goods helped boost Port of Townsville profits for the past financial year.

This was despite a drop in mineral concentrate imports, with refineries sourcing larger volumes from mines in the region instead of overseas, Port of Townsville chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said.

In 2020-21, the Port of Townsville delivered an 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ms 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.”

Port of Townsville investments 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 2020-21 financial year also saw the release of Port Vision 2050, a strategic roadmap for the next 30 years.

“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.”