PORT of Mackay has recorded its biggest month of exports ever, with more than 448,000 tonnes leaving the port in August alone.

The tonnage figure had nearly doubled since August last year, trumping the total monthly average of 265,184 tonnes during the 2020-21 financial year.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert attributed to Queensland’s successful response to COVID-19. 

“It’s the first time ever that the port’s monthly trade figure started with a ‘4’,” Ms Gilbert said.

“Achieving a monthly output of 448,065 tonnes in August is a great result for the Mackay team, compared to 277,624 tonnes recorded in the same month last year.

“Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan has created confidence in our state.

“That runs through our health response, our businesses and industries and our valuable export trade.”

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the export volumes had provided a huge boost to the economy when it was needed most.

“Fuel throughput has been at record levels of the past two months, with the August figure of 173,479 tonnes well ahead of the comparative month last year (159,612 tonnes),” Mr Bailey said.

“Raw sugar exports set a new monthly record at 129,000 tonnes, outstripping last year’s August result of 101,895.”

Mr Bailey said tonnages for other commodities such as molasses and scrap metal were also up.

Ms Gilbert credited Mackay locals for their role in the outstanding trade results.

“Our key strategic advantage in Queensland is our state-owned ports benefitting the Queensland economy,” she said.

“North Queensland is the backbone of our export industry, and this achievement builds hope for many operators across the state, especially North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation.

“While it’s too early to predict a trend, the Port of Mackay has certainly achieved a gold medal month.”

Mr Bailey said the state’s ports were preparing for the future by signing off on two ground-breaking agreements to export renewable energy.

“In August we saw the Port of Hay Point, join Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure and international company ITOCHU in an agreement for hydrogen exports out of the Mackay facility,” he said.

The memorandum of understanding between NQBP, the Brookfield Group, and ITOCHU formalised the companies’ intentions to investigate the potential for producing, storing and exporting green hydrogen at the Dalrymple Bay Terminal at Hay Point.

“Now, the Port of Townsville and Ark Energy have signed an agreement to kickstart hydrogen production in the north,” Mr Bailey said, referring to the memorandum of understanding underpinning the project which could see Queensland shipping 120,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen to South Korea in the next decade.

“These transformative agreements will boost economic development, create new jobs and substantially reduce our carbon emissions, backing Queensland exporters now and into the future.”

Looking back on throughputs over the 2020-21 financial year, petroleum was the greatest export, at 1,548,858 tonnes, followed by raw sugar at 821,713 tonnes, and refined sugar at 252,545 tonnes.