Newcastle Container Terminal Plans Not Dead In The Water As Two Cranes Arrive

                                     The Liebherr cranes arriving at Newcastle this morning

The Port of Newcastle’s bid to operate as a container terminal has taken a major step forward today with the arrival of two mobile harbour cranes.

Shipped from Germany to the Mayfield 4 Berth, the Liebherr LMH 550 cranes are expected to be up and running by the end of the month, and capable of handling a modest 40,000 containers in a year to start.

It is a scaled-back version of the Port’s ambition to operate a $1.8-billion deepwater terminal with a deal between the NSW Government, Port Bottany and Port Kembla capping activities at Newcastle and a Federal Court ruling last year the goal was “fanciful” and “far-fetched”.

But it’s a gamble the Port’s CEO Craig Carmody hopes will pay off in the long-term with the $28.4-million investment significantly boosting the region’s container handling capabilities as a proof of concept of sorts.

“These two new mobile harbour cranes will allow us to move cargo and containers within the limits that the Port Commitment Deeds (PCD) bind us, so that we can give our customers a viable alternative,” Mr Carmody said.

For now the Port of Newcastle must walk the line, but with this first step the pressure will mount on the plans naysayers, or so Mr Carmody hopes.

“As a global trade gateway and the world’s largest coal export port, diversification isn’t an option, it’s a must, so we are taking what action we can while continuing to advocate for the removal of the PCD,” he said.

“The future of the Hunter region, of local industry and of local jobs is far too important for us to sit idly by.”

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