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New chief set to bring wealth of experience to Southern Ports role

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Incoming Southern Ports Authority CEO Keith Wilks
Camera IconIncoming Southern Ports Authority CEO Keith Wilks Credit: Southern Ports Authority

Keith Wilks has been announced as the new chief executive of the Southern Ports Authority, which includes the Albany port.

Mr Wilks is stepping up from the role of chief operating officer, which he has held at the authority since January 2020.

“I’m proud to be taking this next step as CEO at Southern Ports. It’s a tremendous organisation and an exciting time to be involved in the ports sector,” he said.

“Ports have always been a ‘connector’ for organisations across the globe, aided today more than ever by the advanced technologies on offer within our industry.

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“I’m looking forward to the roll-out of Southern Ports’ own digitisation strategy and the opportunities it offers to better connect and strengthen our regional communities.”

He has more than 27 years of experience in the ports and maritime sector, having previously held senior positions at the Port of Newcastle and international tugboat operator Svitzer.

“Having started my career a mariner, I am also particularly passionate about the role ports will play in the interface with global shipping decarbonisation of the maritime trade sector,” Mr Wilks said.

“Western Australia and Southern Ports will be at the forefront of change as we drive towards net zero emissions.”

Mr Wilks will take over the role from retiring chief executive Steve Lewis on May 1.

Ports Minister Rita Saffioti congratulated Mr Wilks on his appointment when she made the announcement on Wednesday.

She said he would bring valuable operational experience and leadership skills to the role, which involves overseeing the operations of the Bunbury and Esperance ports as well as Albany.

“Mr Wilks’ considerable expertise positions him well to lead Southern Ports Authority during this period of sustained growth, which also includes a record $59 million asset renewal program that will build and create future opportunities for WA,” she said.

“I would also like to thank Steve Lewis for leading Southern Ports Authority for the past four years, particularly his achievements in building the capacity and capability of our ports and the adoption of emerging technologies.”

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