The arrival of two Liebherr mobile harbour cranes will signal a new era at the Port of Newcastle (PoN).
Their appearance means the Hunter’s global gateway should now take a critical step forward in its important diversification agenda to unlock trade opportunities within regional and rural NSW, support local industry and create jobs.
The German-built LHM 550 cranes, expected to begin operations in September, sailed into Newcastle Harbour on Tuesday morning onboard general cargo ship UHL Fighter, after leaving the Port of Rostock in late June.
They feature the latest lift assistance systems for safer lifts and can handle a diverse mix of project cargo, including wind turbines, timber, steel coils, transformers and mining equipment.
The cranes also have the capability to work in tandem for heavy lifts and lift two 20ft or one 40ft container in a single move.
PoN CEO Craig Carmody said the $28.4 million investment marked a significant increase in container handling capabilities at the Port’s versatile Mayfield 4 berth.
“Industry has been very clear – they don’t want to have to pay more to send their container exports to Port Botany or Port of Brisbane when they could be taking advantage of Port of Newcastle’s enviable road and rail network and potentially save millions of dollars a year,” he explained.
“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.
“As 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.
“The future of the Hunter region, of local industry and of local jobs is far too important for us to sit idly by.
“As the saying goes, ‘if you build it, they will come’, which is essentially what we are doing.
“By proving that there is demand for containers out of Newcastle, we hope the NSW Government will finally see the irrefutable benefits and remove the PCD.
“Independent analysis has shown a Newcastle deepwater container terminal would contribute $2.5 billion to the national economy and generate more than 19,000 direct and indirect jobs, while reducing road and rail congestion and providing cheaper freight costs for regional importers and exporters, which in the end means more money back into the pockets of local farmers and businesses.”