PORT of Mackay is slated to receive its first ro-ro cargo later this month when a cargo of four mining trucks bound for the Bowen Basin come through the port.
Queensland minister for transport and main roads Mark Bailey said the big trucks were big news for the Mackay region.
“This will be the first time a ro-ro vessel has come into the Port of Mackay, off the back of a $9.8m infrastructure upgrade delivered under the Palaszczuk Government’s Accelerated Works Program,” he said.
“With the critical METS [mining equipment, technology and services] hub just down the road at Paget, the Port of Mackay’s new ro-ro capability really does open up a new world of economic opportunity for the region.”
North Queensland Bulk Ports acting CEO Brendan Webb said after being unloaded in parts at the port, the 794AC trucks would be transported to the nearby METS hub in Paget for assembly.
“Before the infrastructure upgrade, ro-ro vessels could not berth at Mackay and this cargo would instead have had to travel large distances along the highway from southern ports,” he said.
The ro-ro upgrade involved replacing the fenders at two wharves within the port and amending the wharf infrastructure so that a ro-ro ramp can be used to roll cargo on or off a vessel, as opposed to lifting heavy vehicles off vessels with a crane.
NQBP marine pilots undertook training to manoeuvre ro-ro ships into the Port of Mackay at the Queensland Government’s Smartship Australia simulator in June.
The world-class training facility was able to simulate a ro-ro ship pilotage experience, complete with tug boat, within a virtually recreated Mackay harbour.
Member for Mackay and assistant minister for state development Julieanne Gilbert said the Port of Mackay was a critical asset for the people of the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region.
“The port is the logical gateway for break bulk cargo bound for the Bowen or Galilee basins,” she said.
“NQBP has invested heavily in port upgrades in recent years, and I congratulate them on securing this important new trade. With mining activity picking up strongly over the past year, NQBP is well positioned to facilitate the extra trade at the port.”
According to a statement from the Queensland government, the Port of Mackay experienced its strongest trade in four years in the 2017-18 financial year, with more than 3m tonnes of throughput.