Port of Newcastle call on potential empty container park

Port operator to test waters on facility as part of diversification

Port of Newcastle call on potential empty container park
An artist's rendering of the proposed facility


Port of Newcastle (PON) has opened an expressions of interest (EOI) invitation regarding potential creation of an empty container park (ECP) in the Mayfield Precinct.

The EOI will remain open until 4pm Friday November 5.

"Through establishing this EOI, Port of Newcastle is seeking to receive feedback from industry and interested applicants on the project, and to understand views on how Port of Newcastle and an applicant could work collaboratively to maximise the project should it be determined that it proceed," the company said.

"Port of Newcastle has not yet decided whether or not to proceed with the project, with the ultimate decision to be made pending response to the EOI and a range of other business considerations and factors affecting the port."

While primarily a bulk port servicing exports of coal and some grain, PON, the port operating company, is looking for other options, highlighting its rail, road and land capacity as a lure.

But its container operations plans come in the face of state government policy obstruction until Port Botany and Port Kembla reach capacity, by way of a $100 charge on containers above a 30,000 container annual threshold.

"With a deepwater shipping channel operating at 50% of its capacity, significant port land available and enviable access to national rail and road infrastructure, Port of Newcastle is positioned to further underpin the future prosperity of the Hunter, NSW and Australia," it said.

"As custodians of the region’s critical asset, Port of Newcastle is diversifying its trade as it strives to create a safe, sustainable and environmentally and socially responsible future."

PON notes that existing project cargo, general cargo and container handling capability will be further enhanced following a $28.4-million investment in two Liebherr L550 mobile harbour cranes and associated infrastructure at the Port’s versatile Mayfield 4 berth.

Read how PON greeted the ACCC’s Federal Court loss, here


"In announcing the mobile harbour crane purchase in July, Port of Newcastle expressed its excitement about this upgrade to its Mayfield 4 berth service offering and the opportunities it presents to support the port working with customers and new trades alike to identify how the Mobile Harbour Cranes service can benefit their supply chains, improve efficiency and further support their ability to successfully compete in international markets," it said.

With access to rail sidings and upgraded internal roads, able to handle oversized trucks, the new cranes are capable of handling a diverse mix of project cargo, including wind turbines, mining equipment, timber, steel coils and transformers.

The cranes will also have the capability to work in tandem for heavy lifts and lift two 20’ or one 40’ container in a single move.

Port of Newcastle expects containerised trade to increase there, with the addition of the Mobile Harbour Cranes to assist loading and unloading of vessels, whilst Port of Newcastle seeks to remove existing restrictions so that it can build the Multi-Purpose Deepwater Terminal.

The Mayfield 4 berth, where the new Mobile Harbour Cranes and potential EPC will be located, is used for break bulk and general cargo and this trade is expected to continue through the berth following installation of the cranes.

PON proposes to make available some 4 hectares of land for the ECP as would provide the applicant a portion of hardstand area under licence to establish it plus says it is prepared to consider establishing the facilities required in agreement with the applicant, as part of the initial licence.

"With the port’s investment in infrastructure, prime location and access to rail and road links, this could be a great opportunity for a collaborative partnership with our growing port," PON project director Lindsay Crutch said, adding that PON "encourages shipping companies and stevedores to make contact for a discussion or present feedback on the scope and potential" of such an ECP "through the formal EOI process".

The EOI document can be found here.


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