“As the saying goes, ‘if you build it, they will come’, which is essentially what we are doing,” Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said on the arrival of the port’s two new Liebherr LHM 550 mobile harbour cranes.
“By proving that there is demand for containers out of Newcastle, we hope the NSW government will finally see the irrefutable benefits and remove the PCD [port commitment deeds].”
The two cranes arrived in Newcastle Harbour this morning (2 August) on the general cargo ship UHL Fighter after leaving the Port of Rostock in late June.
Mr Carmody said the $28.4-million investment marks a significant increase in container-handling capabilities at the port’s Mayfield 4 berth.
“Industry has been very clear – they don’t want to have to pay more to send their container exports to Port Botany or Port of Brisbane when they could be taking advantage of Port of Newcastle’s enviable road and rail network and potentially save millions of dollars a year,” Mr Carmody said.
He said the new cranes would allow the port to move cargo and containers within the limits of the port commitment deeds.
“As a global trade gateway and the world’s largest coal export port, diversification isn’t an option, it’s a must, so we are taking what action we can while continuing to advocate for the removal of the PCD,” he said.
“The future of the Hunter region, of local industry and of local jobs is far too important for us to sit idly by.”
Mr Carmody said independent analysis has shown a Newcastle deepwater container terminal would contribute $2.5 billion to the national economy and generate more than 19,000 direct and indirect jobs, while reducing road and rail congestion and providing cheaper freight costs for regional importers and exporters, which in the end means more money back into the pockets of local farmers and businesses.
The 550-tonne Liebherr mobile harbour cranes feature lift-assistance systems for safer lifts and can handle a diverse mix of project cargo, including wind turbines, timber, steel coils, transformers and mining equipment.
They also have the capability to work in tandem for heavy lifts and lift two 20-foot or one 40-foot container in a single move.
Port of Newcastle’s mobile harbour cranes will undergo testing over the coming month and are expected to begin operations in September.