PORT of Newcastle is releasing two tenders to advance its Mayfield Precinct multi-purpose cargo handling facility.

The port said it was working to diversify in in preparation for a future “multi-purpose deepwater container terminal”.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said releasing the tenders for land and water-side construction works reinforces the port’s commitment to future adaptation.

“The port’s Mayfield Precinct is a 90-hectare parcel of extensively remediated portside land and these tenders will give new life and purpose to the former BHP Steelworks site, supporting the creation of the Mayfield Precinct Multi-Purpose Cargo Handling Facility, and enabling the port to diversify its trade and support the Hunter and NSW economy through improving existing supply chain efficiency,” Mr Carmody said.

The tender works will support the port’s $28.4 million investment in two Liebherr Mobile Harbour Cranes, which are currently being built in Germany and are due for arrival at Port of Newcastle in July next year.

The tender release also follows the closure of the port’s expressions of interest process to operate a future empty container park at the Mayfield 4 site.

In issuing the tenders, Port of Newcastle executive manager projects and assets Glenn Thornton said the port is seeking to develop a portion of the Mayfield site for expanded port-related activities in order to accommodate a diverse range of cargo handling infrastructure and grow new and existing trades.

“The release of the tenders for the expansion of operations at Mayfield 4 Berth to Mayfield 6 Berth is a critical next step in moving the Mayfield Precinct to a key activity centre within Port of Newcastle,” Mr Thornton said.

“Mayfield 4 is currently a general cargo facility and the expanded hardstand area, associated infrastructure and planned empty container park is being implemented to leverage the arrival of the two Liebherr Mobile Harbour Cranes that are currently in production in Germany. This expanded general cargo facility will complement the ship unloader that is in commissioning stage at Kooragang 2 and advances Port of Newcastle on its diversification path.”

Mr Carmody said he would also like to be announcing the next stage in the port’s $2.4-billion container terminal project.

“Although we are not presently in that position, Port of Newcastle’s goals are unwavering. We remain of the view that an appeal is necessary as development of another container terminal in NSW, even whilst Port Botany still has capacity, would provide a viable alternative and more cost-effective export routes for regional NSW farmers and manufacturers,” he said.

“Such competition would increase regional NSW global competitiveness and allow these suppliers to avoid congested supply chains.”

In June, a Federal Court decision dismissed a case brought by the ACCC over the legality of port sale deeds between NSW, NSW Ports and the Port of Newcastle. The decision means a penalty on container throughput above a minimal threshold at the Port of Newcastle remains in place. The decision has been appealed.

Mr Carmody said as the world’s largest coal port, diversification is not an option, but a “must-do”.

“Our diversification is critical to ensure we can create a strong, thriving rort that will continue to support local jobs and the economic prosperity of NSW and the Hunter region for generations to come. To do this we must realise projects now,” Mr Carmody said.

“It is the actions that we take now that will shape our port and our region over the next 10, 20, 50 years and beyond.”