A MEMORANDUM of understanding between Gladstone Ports Corporation and Sugar Terminals Limited is expected to boost the business case for new infrastructure at Bundaberg.

GPC (which manages Port of Bundaberg) and STL announced their MOU this week, with STL to “investigate options” to expand existing storage and handling operations.

GPC acting chief executive Craig Walker said the arrangement would support a detailed business case for the design and construction of common user infrastructure at the port.

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“The common user Infrastructure would utilise STL’s existing Sir Thomas Hiley Wharf and ship loading facilities to diversify the current sugar industry resources,” Mr Walker said.

“STL has extensive experience in both operating and maintaining bulk storage and handling facilities, and with GPC as Australia’s premier multi-commodity port, we see that this venture will stimulate industry growth for the region.”

“We have been working with STL on this venture for some time in conjunction with our strategic planning work to promote the Port of Bundaberg and surrounding State Development Area.”

STL chief executive John Warda said the organisation wanted to diversify its income base and better use assets.

“We are excited to be working with GPC on this venture; as a major stakeholder in Bundaberg we see significant opportunities for common user infrastructure to attract new commodities to the port,” Mr Warda said.

“We are working on a staged approach with GPC, with the signing of this MOU… an important first step in investigating the options to add new linkages into existing infrastructure.”

GPC and STL are to begin formal investigations in coming months.

The business case is to build on the preliminary options assessment done by GPC and the Department of State Development Manufacturing Infrastructure and Planning.

State transport minister Mark Bailey said the MOU could pave the way for increased and more diverse trade through the port.

“This agreement is another sign that exporters see the potential for growth in Bundaberg and are ready to back that with long-term agreements,” Mr Bailey said.

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