NEW preliminary figures show total trade through Townsville Port increased by 4.7% in the 2018-19 financial year, rising to a total of 7.68 million tonnes.

Visiting the Port recently, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the rise in export numbers despite this year’s floods was a testament to both the resilience of the North Queensland community and the opportunity that lay in exporting the region’s resources.

“We know that Queensland is a resources state and in the past four years we have attracted more than $20bn worth of new investment and created more than 4000 jobs,” Ms Trad said.

“The North West Minerals Province contains approximately 75% 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.”

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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.

“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 11 weeks after the disaster,” Mr Stewart said.

“These efforts have been rewarded with exports of mineral concentrates rising by 33%, refined copper up by 27%, zinc ferrite by 11% and smelted lead by 7%.”

Mr Stewart said growth is expected to continue with the recent announcement of the QLD government’s half a billion dollar plan to reduce freight charges and significantly improve transport infrastructure to the port. This includes $30m to build the new crane and cargo terminal at Berth 4.

Local construction business Formset has started earthworks on the $10m 1.6-hectare container terminal as part of the terminal project at Berth 4.

Townsville Port CEO Ranee Crosby said 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 flood.

“It’s another example of how the Townsville community is turning adversity into opportunity,” Ms Crosby said.

“Around 3000 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.”

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