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Port of Newcastle unveils new container, bulk services capabilities

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Two new mobile harbour cranes have been assigned to Port of Newcastle (PoN) as part of its ongoing commitment to diversification and a sustainable future.

With the hoists – boasting an outreach of 54m and a lifting capacity of 104 tonnes – in their final stages of commissioning, and terminal expansion underway, the cranes will begin cargo and container handling in September.

CEO Craig Carmody said the $32.4 million investment, unveiled on Monday 29 August, marked a significant increase in an improved container, break-bulk and project cargo handling capability for customers at PoN.

“For Port of Newcastle, the arrival of the mobile harbour cranes is an important step forward in our aim to diversify,” he explained.

It follows the announcement last November that the Port is partnering with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group to support the development of a hydrogen economy in the Hunter region.

The Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub, part of a broader clean energy precinct, will initially be underpinned by a large electrolyser and ammonia loop providing green product for domestic decarbonisation that is supported by a range of project partners including SnowyHydro, Jemena, Keolis Downer, Lake Macquarie City Council and Idemitsu.

The first stage of the $3 million feasibility study into the development of a green hydrogen hub at the Port has now been concluded.

Macquarie Group managing director and chief executive officer Shemara Wikramanayake admitted diversification represented a vital opportunity for the PoN.

“As the gateway to the second largest city in New South Wales, the Port will continue to play a key role in the future of the Hunter as a major region for economic growth,” she said.

Macquarie manages a 50% shareholding in the Port of Newcastle on behalf of investors and is assisting the facility in its strategic realignment away from its historic reliance on coal export.

“The new container and bulk services initiative, together with the broader clean energy precinct, represents a huge chance for the Hunter region to diversify, decarbonise and support the development of jobs in emerging industries,” Ms Wikramanayake said.

The Green Hydrogen project includes a partnership with the University of Newcastle to boost innovation and drive research commercialisation in the area.

Mr Carmody said the official opening of the mobile harbour cranes, which will begin operating next month, was an opportunity to reflect on the shared vision of the two organisations for an exciting future.

“When you are known nationally and internationally as the ‘world’s largest coal port’, change is always going to be like turning a large cargo ship in the harbour, a measured transition in tandem with the broader economy,” he added.

“But, with the right tools around you, the end goal can be achieved.”

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