A CARGO barge facility designed to increase trade in Queensland and to the Pacific Islands is nearing completion.

The facility is being constructed as part of the $15-million first stage of the Pacific Marine Base Bundaberg project.  

According to Pacific Tug Group, the company behind the project, Gladstone Ports Corporation granted the group a 50-year lease at the port of Bundaberg.

Pacific Tug said Stage 1 has received a $6 million investment from the federal government and additional assistance from the state government and Bundaberg Regional Council.

The company expects the marine base to play an important role in Queensland’s plan to boost its renewable energy infrastructure.

Pacific Tug CEO Chris Peters said the facility would soon contribute to significant economic opportunities for the region.

“We’ve been planning this facility for more than five years, working with Gladstone Ports Corporation while receiving support from all levels of government who understand the benefits that this project can unlock,” he said.

“This is only stage one of a facility that can ultimately expand and play a key role in opening up the state’s port capacity to assist in some landmark projects including the development of Queensland renewable energy solutions.”

Mr Peters expects the Pacific Marine Base to have the largest load capacity of any port along Australia’s east coast.

“The length of this lease ensures that we can play a role in expansion, increasing Queensland’s port capacity and supporting renewable energy plans,” he said.

“Bundaberg port has notable advantages when added into a wider mix including Brisbane and Gladstone, which both play critical roles in the state’s freight needs.”

Plans for Stage 2 of Pacific Marine Base Bundaberg involve lengthening the wharf to create a break bulk shipping terminal with a large laydown area and access to major roads.

The company said the Queensland government has given approval for an over-size over-mass freight oath from the port to the Bruce Highway.

Pacific Tug is discussing Stage 2 with government and private investors.

“Stage 2 of Pacific Marine Base Bundaberg is shovel-ready and its benefits for the region and beyond are significant,” Mr Peters said.

“This would include the creation of a further 100 jobs in the construction phase.”