Port buoyed by record trade result

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

Albany port has produced a record trade result for the 2016-17 financial year after exceeding 5 million tonnes in exports for the first time in the port’s history.

With an increase of more than 10 per cent in overall trade, the latest figures show 5.1 million tonnes left the port last year.

The record trade has been attributed to solid improvements in woodchip and grain tonnage, according to Southern Ports Authority chief executive Nicolas Fertin.

“We knew CBH had a record year with three months of steady throughput in the first quarter of 2017, which also translated to an increase in shipping,” he said.

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“Combined with the increase in woodchips and modest increases in fertiliser imports and timber exports, this has resulted in a strong total trade result.”

Woodchip trade was up 19 per cent to 1.8 million tonnes while grain increased 135,000 tonnes from the previous year to represent 2.9 million tonnes of trade.

A total of 174 ships docked in Albany, which was up from 158 the previous year while 13 cruise ships called into port compared with 11 the year before. The port forms part of the Southern Ports Authority, which includes Esperance and Bunbury, and has four berths catering for general and bulk cargo, grain and woodchips.

The previous trade record was 4.7 million tonnes, set in 2014-15, with last year recording 4.5 million tonnes.

Mr Fertin indicated improved efficiency remained a focus for the port. “We’ve continued to improve the operation of the port — we’ve built more than a kilometre of road to access the berth, we’ve continued with the berth maintenance,” he said. “We’re trying to find new ways to turnaround our ships faster. We’re working closely with CBH to get a faster turnaround with our trucks and our trains and that actually helps reduce the costs of moving the grain and makes the grain of our farmers more competitive worldwide.”

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