Port of Newcastle: A global gateway for regional Australia

Port of Newcastle welcomed its new CEO last month, with Craig Carmody stepping into the role on Wednesday 1 August.

Mr Carmody’s commencement coincided with an announcement that the Port remained committed to the development of a world-class container terminal to boost jobs and business opportunities in the Hunter region.

The Port of Newcastle has developed the concept for a staged container terminal development at its Mayfield site – the largest and best connected vacant port land site on the Australian eastern seaboard. The site has the capacity for two million TEUs per annum and options for an efficient container terminal based on global best-practice are already being explored.

Mr Carmody said the Port had already received interest from domestic and global players who want to develop a state-of-the-art container terminal with productivity performance that will be unlike any Australian port.

“As a global gateway for regional Australia, the Port is ready to go. We have cost-effective landside connectivity, interested shippers and a deep channel port that is operating at less than half its capacity. However, we cannot proceed while the NSW Government imposes an artificial restriction on port competition – which is now the subject of an investigation by the ACCC.

“The viability and demand for a Newcastle Container Terminal is also backed a recent study by Deloitte Access Economics that found that the Hunter region and northern NSW is the destination for over a quarter of NSW container imports, and the source of 40 per cent of exports,” said Mr Carmody.

Mr Carmody said the market is already recognising the distinct competitive advantages of the Port of Newcastle. The Port’s customers benefit from its close proximity and connectivity to NSW’s northern, north-western, western and far-western catchment areas. For producers and cargo owners, Newcastle’s optimal connectivity means that they can get their products to their final destinations in less time – and at a lower cost.

The development of the Inland Rail will also create an opportunity to connect the Port of Newcastle to the container and other trades on this route. As the only port with an existing direct connection to the Inland Rail, Newcastle will have a head-start on other east coast ports.

Port of Newcastle may be well-known as the world’s leading coal export port but its management has recently embarked on an ambitious diversification strategy to expand and grow its trade. A number of key strategic development opportunities are currently underway to support the future diversification of the Port, including the $33 million Newcastle Bulk Terminal and Newcastle Cruise Terminal.

Mr Carmody said Newcastle was proud to be the world’s largest coal port, and coal would continue to provide a stable base for growth, but the Port was also realistic about coal’s declining prospects in decades to come.

“That is why we are committed at the Port of Newcastle to playing a major part in the Hunter region’s growth and diversification strategy through the development of a container terminal. NSW’s freight task is set to double in the next 20 years and economic modelling by Deloitte Access Economics shows that the development of the Newcastle Container Terminal will provide efficiencies and competition to meet this future logistics and freight task.

“The potential for the Newcastle Container Terminal to grow and diversify not just our region, but also our state, is undeniable. I am honoured to be leading such an important project,” said Mr Carmody. 

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