A record number of containerised cargo movements has surged through the Port of Townsville, boosting the North Queensland economy.

More than 65,000 container movements have been recorded in the 2017/18 financial year, already up several thousand on the 2014/2015 Port of Townsville record of 62,512 containers.

An estimated 80,000 containers are expected to be imported and exported by 30 June 2018, an increase of around 60 per cent on the previous financial year and the potential to improve the record trade milestone of 2014/2015 by around 20,000 boxes.

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said the increase was welcome news for the North Queensland economy.

“We know Townsville has seen difficult times over the past few years, but we are now really starting to see signs of a recovery,” Mr Bailey said.

“We are fortunate to have four shipping lines servicing the Port of Townsville in the container trade including ANL, Swire Shipping, Mariana Express Lines. This means more services, better frequency and more competition on freight pricing for regional businesses.”

Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said that the increase in container movements through the Townsville port was great for the local economy and jobs.

“This has given a new confidence to many operators in North Queensland,” Mr Stewart said.

“After the end of the mining boom, we are again starting to see an increase in industry in this great city.”

Mr Stewart used the news to once again urge the Federal Government to match the Queensland Government’s $75 million funding commitment to further widen the port to allow access to bigger ships.

Port of Townsville, CEO, Ranee Crosby, said that the increase in containers and general cargo showed the port deserved its place as the largest in Northern Australia.

“60 years ago, shipping containers revolutionised the way general cargo was shipped and allowed huge steps forward in the efficiency of the global supply chain,” Ms Crosby said.

“Containers moving through the Port of Townsville carry an incredibly diverse range of cargo including whitegoods, furniture, construction materials, clothing and, in huge numbers this financial year, solar project cargo.”

Branch Manager, Chris Barnes of Mainfreight Air and Ocean North Queensland, who have had a local presence in Townsville for more than 15 years, said that in the past containers export movements had been focused toward the Far North Asia trade, but that was now broadening.

“Historically, containerised imports into Townsville have been focused toward the Far North Asia trade, however Mainfreight are now providing import and export solutions moving Townsville containers to and from the USA, Europe, New Zealand, Middle East, South and North Asia,” Mr Barnes said. 

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