PORT Authority of New South Wales is a finalist in the prestigious 2021 IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards for its work supporting Illawarra industries and the business community through the COVID pandemic.

Port Authority CEO Philip Holliday said he was delighted that the region’s peak business organisation, Business Illawarra, announced Port Authority’s Port Kembla site as finalists amongst a strong field of contenders for the awards.

“We couldn’t be prouder to have been selected as finalists in the Excellence in Business Category of these prestigious awards, sponsored by the University of Wollongong – it is such an honour,” Mr Holliday said.

“The past 12 months have been tough for so many in the Illawarra and beyond, so ensuring we kept Port Kembla safe, secure and open for trading with the world was essential to keeping many businesses and industries afloat.

“Mariners often say there is no better tool you can have on board than a well-trained crew and achieving selection into this amazing list of finalists is 100% down to the crew at Port Kembla led by our harbour master Sharad Bhasin and head of operations Peter Ernst, who have kept us on course to support the Illawarra through the pandemic,” he said.

Port Authority’s head of operations for Port Kembla and South Coast Peter Ernst said being selected as a finalist confirmed the important role the Authority plays in the local community.

“Our staff are locals and as a business we are very much a part of the local community,” Mr Ernst said.

“We have seen the hardship COVID has created, and we have worked diligently over the past 12 months to be resilient and adapt quickly to implement new systems to ensure we could keep our ports open, safe, secure and operating efficiently.

“As a result, we have been able to achieve zero delays to shipping at our port due to any reasons other than inclement weather or environmental conditions over this period.

“It’s also how we managed to implement continuous improvement practices such as redesigning the telemetry for the port including new weather stations, improved reliability across the port and visibility of real-time data for our port customers and all public users.”

“Our staff here at Port Authority have found it incredibly rewarding to support our customers including local businesses we know well, to get goods out to market and their essential supplies in efficiently so they could keep going during this really difficult time.

“By managing the navigation, security and operational safety needs of commercial shipping, Port Authority of New South Wales plays a critical role in ensuring our ports continue delivering prosperity to the Illawarra and all of NSW,” he said.

The 2021 IMB Bank Illawarra Business Awards gala ceremony will be held on Friday, 19

November at the WIN Entertainment Centre where the winners will be announced for each category.