EXPERIENCED port manager Steve Lewis has been appointed chief executive at Southern Ports, effective from Monday 14 January.

Mr Lewis takes on the role after working as interim CEO at Mid-West Ports Authority and has more than two decades of experience as a CEO, including 15 in the ports scene.

Mr Lewis led Dampier Port Authority (now part of Pilbara Ports Authority) and North Queensland Bulk Ports before returning to the West.

Southern Ports includes Albany, Bunbury and Esperance. During the 2018 financial year it had a combined facilitated trade of more than 33.5m tonnes.

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State ports minister Alannah MacTiernan said Mr Lewis had excellent credentials.

“Steve Lewis is one of Australia’s most experienced port chief executives with strong experience leading large complex ports and a proven track record in building relationships with port users,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“Steve has a long history in regional WA having previously worked at Dampier Port Authority, where he was instrumental in growing the port’s base turnover from $3.5m in 2003 to $86.4m in June 2014.

“He has a strong record in developing positive relationships with both port users and staff.

“Steve’s appointment marks a new beginning for Southern Ports after what has been a difficult period for the organisation.”

Mr Lewis replaces Nicolas Fertin, Southern Ports inaugural CEO who has, according to the board, “tendered his resignation to further his career and pursue new opportunities”.

Board chairman Robert Cole said Southern Ports had experienced strong year-on-year growth and diversification of trade.

“Nicolas led the changes required to combine the three businesses into one,” Mr Cole said in a statement.

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