Townsville Port has defied the major flooding in the region in early 2019, with a growth in exports, job creation and a pipeline of new construction works.
Preliminary figures show total trade through Townsville Port increased by 4.7 per cent in the 2018-19 financial year, rising to a total of 7.68 million tonnes.
The news coincides with the Queensland Government’s recent announcement of its half-billion-dollar plan to reduce freight charges and significantly improve transport infrastructure to the port – including $30 million to build the new Crane and Cargo Terminal at Berth 4.
Local construction business, Formset, has started earthworks on the $10 million 1.6-hectare container terminal as part of the Crane and Cargo Terminal project at Berth 4.
Townsville Port CEO, Ranee Crosby, said the project will use sustainable management of the port’s sand that is being dredged from the mouth of Ross River – deposited there by the February 2019 flood.
“It’s another example of how the Townsville community is turning adversity into opportunity,” Ms Crosby said.
“Around 3,000 cubic tonnes of dredged sand will be used in the preparation of ground stabilisation for the project.
“We believe a sustainable port delivers economic prosperity through trade, maintains a healthy environment, and enables a thriving community.”
Formset Managing Director, Brent Zander, said his company would create more local employment opportunities through the project.
“Our workforce is 100 per cent local and will be recruiting around 40 additional people over the span of the project,” Mr Zander said.
“Operating for more than three generations we are proud to provide our expertise in construction and civil works.
“It is a good feeling knowing that our project also adds to the planning of growth in the port and the region.”
A region bounces back after disaster
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Jackie Trad, said the rise in export numbers despite this year’s devastating floods was a testament to both the resilience of the North Queensland community and the opportunity that lay in exporting our resources to the world.
“Our government’s substantial investment in renewable energy projects and investment in new initiatives to promote exploration, mining and exports in the North West Minerals Province is paying dividends for the local economy,” Ms Trad said.
“We know that Queensland is a resources state and in the past four years we have attracted more than $20 billion worth of new investment and created more than 4,000 jobs.
“The North West Minerals Province contains approximately 75 per cent of our state’s base metal and mineral endowment including copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and phosphate deposits.
“The latest export figures are good news for our economy and good news for regional jobs.”
Member for Townsville, Scott Stewart, said fast tracking of flood repairs to the Mount Isa railway line in the wake of February’s floods had helped keep mineral exports moving through the Port, boosting the local economy.
“Restoration works performed by a dedicated 400-person Queensland Rail taskforce not only fast tracked the repairs but also upgraded sections of the line that were previously under speed restrictions, allowing freight to move just eleven weeks after the disaster,” Mr Stewart said.
“These efforts have been rewarded with exports of mineral concentrates rising by 33 per cent, refined copper up by 27 per cent, zinc ferrite by eleven per cent and smelted lead by seven per cent.”