PORT of Newcastle handled a total of 145.2 million tonnes of trade over the 2022 calendar, a decrease of 12.6% on 2021 (when the port handled 166 million tonnes).

This decrease was largely driven by a decrease in coal exports due to flooding and weather events, but other commodities remained strong.

Coal exports over 2022 totalled 136.3 million tonnes, a decrease of 13% on 2021’s coal exports of 156.7 million tonnes.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the results are testament to the port’s resilience during one of the wettest years in recent memory.

“In the first half of 2022 the Hunter experienced five flood events, which had implications across the supply chain,” he said.

“Unsurprisingly this contributed to an overall decrease in total import/export trade volumes and ship visits through the Port compared to 2021, handling 145 million tonnes of cargo and recording 4261 vessel movements in 2022.

“Through a collaborative response and making good use of the David Allan dredger and the port’s new sweeper vessel Lydia, we were able to help reduce the impacts of the floods and return the channel to its designed depth, sooner and safely.”

Port of Newcastle executive manager of business development Matthew Swan said despite the challenges of 2022, the port continued to see strong trade volumes across key export commodities.

“Meals and grain exports, predominately to China, Japan, and Pakistan recorded a 56% year on year increase, buoyed by a rise in the export of sorghum, barley and canola, with 479,000 tonnes shipped through the port in 2022,” Mr Swan said.

“Wheat continued to perform strongly, the 2.7 million tonnes exported being the second-highest year following 2021.

“Port of Newcastle continued to support major projects in the region with roll on roll off and project cargo including wind turbine components for the Rye Park Wind Farm, rail wagons for the Sydney Metro project as well as grain and coal haulers, equipment for the Snowy 2.0 Kurri Power Station, and mining equipment for customers in the Hunter Valley.”

The 2022 trade figures come at an exciting time for Port of Newcastle as it takes significant steps forward in its diversification.

“2023 will be an important year for the port and our commitment to build a container terminal in Newcastle,” Mr Carmody said.

“Once the valuation process for the Port of Newcastle Extinguishment of Liability Act is complete, we look forward to a future where businesses right across the Hunter, Western and Northern NSW can import and export their product through the port more efficiently and cost effectively.”

Mr Carmody said PoN was also developing a new, dedicated clean energy precinct.

“[The precinct] will see the Hunter become a hub for the development, production and export of green energy like hydrogen,” he said.