Australia’s Port of the Year award, which recognises ports’ importance in economic recovery from COVID-19, has been named.

The Port of Port Hedland received the coveted Port of the Year award at the 2020 Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry awards.

The awards are an annual, independent event run by maritime publication Daily Cargo News, that recognises the best ports, organisations, services and individuals in the industry.

The award acknowledged the economic importance of the port to the regional, state and national economies, and the port’s year-on-year throughput increased from 446.9Mt in 2014/15 to a record 538.2Mt in 2019/20.  

Port of Port Hedland Harbour Master, Captain Heathcliff Pimento, said the port had delivered the record 2019/20 throughput despite the extra demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Captain Pimento said the award recognised the ongoing investment in the port and its marine technology.

“In recent years there has been significant investment in the port so we can continue to offer safe and reliable port services while increasing total port capacity by 6.9 per cent,” Captain Pimento said.

“Projects have included the $120 million Channel Risk and Optimisation Project to deliver an emergency passing lane in the outer shipping channel and create a dedicated refuge zone for disabled ships.

“The Channel Marker Replacement Project replaced 35 offshore and three land-based navigation markers to ensure the safe passage of vessels through the channel, and the $55.3 million Hedland Tower, which was launched in 2019.”

The Port of Port Hedland came out ahead to receive the Port of the Year title against other leading Australian ports including the Port of Brisbane, the Port of Melbourne and the Port of Newcastle.

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