A NEW bulk goods conveyor at the Port of Bundaberg has the potential to significantly increase and diversify the port’s throughput, according to Gladstone Ports Corporation.

The $21.9-million conveyor, just opened, is expected to provide competitive loading facilities for a wide range of bulk minerals and agricultural products such as sands, sugar, light grain and wood pellets.

The federal government contributed $17.7 million to the new facility, Sugar Terminals Limited put in $3.2 million, and Gladstone Ports Corporation contributed additional funding on behalf of the Queensland government.

The facility includes the 250-metre conveyer, two transfer towers and modifications to existing ship loading equipment have already been put to use with the first shipment of product last week.

That first shipment contained 22,000 tonnes of silica sand, produced by local Bundaberg business, Sunstate Sands. It is bound for South Korea where it will be used in the manufacture of glass.

Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO Craig Haymes said the project is of strategic importance to the region and the Port of Bundaberg.

“This is about expanding the export capabilities of the port and unlocking opportunities for regional producers to compete on a global scale,” he said.

“The new facilities have the potential to increase our existing throughput in the Port of Bundaberg by more than five times and accommodate new products.”

The project was delivered by Sugar Terminals Limited and asset services business e2o as part of the Hinkler Regional Deal, a government-funded development project.

Federal minister for regional development Kristy McBain said the modern and fit-for-purpose conveyor would help increase exports of bulk commodities from the Port of Bundaberg.

“For every business, time is money – which is why we invested over $17 million towards more efficient and multi-purpose loading facilities, enabling a faster exit from the port – which we know is under more demand than ever,” she said.

“This will support businesses in the Wide Bay-Burnett region to expand their capabilities and services, driving economic growth and the creation of local employment opportunities – building on the 335 jobs supported during construction.”

And Sugar Terminals Limited CEO David Quinn said the company was proud to have led the construction and delivery of the multi-user conveyor project adjacent to STL’s Bundaberg bulk sugar terminal.

“STL’s project team, which included Linear Engineering, Loftus Contracting, and e2o (a subsidiary of Clough) have collectively delivered a world-class facility that will enable a range of bulk commodities to be handled safely and efficiently,” he said.

“This project not only provided local jobs during construction but will also facilitate new opportunities in the broader region as users take advantage of this facility.

“Importantly, STL has now had the opportunity to fully commission this infrastructure following the successful loading of a 22,000-tonne shipment of silica sand for our customer Sunstate Sands which we safely and successfully completed recently.

“We now look forward to future shipments from both existing and new customers.”