Surge in cars revs up port
$14m profit in tough year
A SURGE in the number of motor vehicles and containerised goods imported through the Port of Townsville has helped deliver a small rise in profit in the face of another challenging year.
The port’s 2020-21 annual report, tabled in state parliament, shows it delivered a net profit after tax of $14.3m, up 3.3 per cent on the previous year, despite the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While overall trade dropped to 7.7 million tonnes, compared to 8.2 million tonnes in the previous year, containerised trade rose 17 per cent and motor vehicle imports increased 34 per cent.
The port also recorded increased trade in exports of fertiliser and refined metals and imports of cement, fertiliser and petroleum products.
Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby said the result was positive as the global landscape continued to be redefined by uncertainty.
“As the world changes, we have maintained a strong focus on keeping vital trade moving to support the people and the economy of North Queensland,” Ms Crosby said. “An overall decline in trade was driven by changes in mineral concentrates supply chains, with refineries sourcing larger volumes from mines in the region instead of overseas. This highlighted the strength of the North West Minerals Province to service refineries in our region.
“We welcomed strong growth in containerised and motor vehicle imports, and North Queensland’s resilience in such times demonstrates how vital it is that we continue to facilitate trade for the diverse range of industries.
“On top of that our continuing capital works program will guarantee our region’s growth for the years to come.”
The Port of Townsville’s investment in trade throughout 2020-21 included:
• Continuation of the largest infrastructure project in the port’s history, the $232m Channel Upgrade project;
• Construction of the 2.2km rock wall and 62ha reclamation area is now complete and capital dredging is due to begin in late 2021;
• Completion of the $30m Berth 4 Ship-to-shore Crane and Cargo Area to grow container and general cargo trade in the region;
• Completion of a $4.5m truck staging area to reduce congestion and improve safety and efficiency of truck movements;
• Commissioning the new $3.3m custom-built pilot vessel, Mantaray; and
• Signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Origin Energy to export hydrogen to Asia, and advanced investigations with a number of other proponents including Ark Energy and Edify Energy to develop clean energy projects that could drive significant economic growth for the region.
During the year, the port increased its commitment to sustainability with the release of Port Vision 2050 strategy. It included a $50,000 Port Community Fund, a commitment to become carbon neutral for port operations by 2025, planting one million additional native trees by 2050 and delivery of the $1.6bn Port Expansion Project by 2050.