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Investment reaps rewards for Pilbara’s ports

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Dry Bulk,

Investment in the ports of the Pilbara is reaping rewards, as innovations maximise efficiency and safety, iron ore executives in Perth, Australia, heard this week.

Speaking at the 23rd Annual Global Iron Ore and Steel Forecast Conference in Perth, Pilbara Ports Authority’s General Manager of Development and Trade, Lyle Banks, said there had been AUS$324.5 million in capital spend at the Port of Port Hedland in the five years to 30 June 2020.

The investment in projects such as the Hedland Tower, the Channel Risk Optimisation Project and the Channel Marker Replacement Programme had helped equip the port for sustainable growth for the next 25 years.

Cutting-edge technologies in place at the port, including metocean monitor-ing equipment, simulation training and the Dynamic Under Keel Clearance system, have helped the port achieve higher capacity and, in turn, set new records.

Records made and broken at the port offer proof of the return on the investment:

  • Iron ore export volumes through Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) ports have increased by 103%, from 328.8 million tpy in 2010/2011 to 667.6 million tpy in 2019/2020.
  • The ‘million tonnes on a tide’ efficiency marker was achieved once in 2012, 107 times in 2019, and that number has already been passed in the 2020 year to date.
  • Approximately AUS$120.8 billion in product was exported through PPA ports in 2019/2020.

PPA is the world’s largest bulk export port authority, encompassing the ports of Ashburton, Dampier and Port Hedland in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Investment is also being made in been multi-user infrastructure to diversify trade through the ports. New biosecurity facilities are being installed at each of the ports, enabling containers to be shipped directly from Singapore to the Pilbara. The first service, operated by ANL shipping, commenced in November with a second announced to commence in December.

PPA is a Government Trading Enterprise and the operations of the ports have been declared critical to Western Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Following PPA’s record 2019/2020 throughput of 717.2 million t, a dividend of AUS$111.9 million was returned to the State of Western Australia.

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