Southern Ports named port of the year for 2023

Staff reporterKalgoorlie Miner
Southern Ports operates the ports of Esperance (above), Albany and Bunbury.
Camera IconSouthern Ports operates the ports of Esperance (above), Albany and Bunbury. Credit: Amber Lilley/Kalgoorlie Miner

Southern Ports has received the coveted Port of the Year award at the 2023 Australian Shipping and Maritime Industry Awards.

The national award received last Wednesday comes as the port authority — which operates the ports of Esperance, Albany and Bunbury — has grown and transformed exponentially during the past five years across trade, workforce, asset management, sustainability and innovation.

Southern Ports chief executive Keith Wilks said he was proud to see the WA regional port authority recognised on a national stage.

“We may not be the biggest port authority or facilitate the most trade across the country, but we certainly have grown and transformed our role and contribution to the sector, the regions we operate in, and the State’s economy,” he said.

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“We’ve completely transformed ourselves with a package of strategic, innovative projects and reforms — many implemented concurrently — that have not only achieved outstanding results across all measures, but also positioned us for an even brighter future.

“Last year alone we broke 16 trade records across our three ports, which together facilitated $49 billion in trade.

“When you compare our organisation to five years ago, we’re almost unrecognisable — our workforce has grown by 55 per cent, our training investment in our people has increased threefold, and we now operate the largest and third-largest lithium export ports in the world.

“We’re also undertaking an ambitious $62 million capital works program across our ports, the largest in our history, and a $12m technology program targeting full digitisation by 2025.”

In addition to taking out Port of the Year, two of Southern Ports’ key personnel were awarded with high commendations.

Chief people and sustainability officer Monica Birkner was recognised for her leadership and achievements in the Women in Maritime and Shipping category, and marine pilot Callum MacAdie in the Young Achiever Award, recognising his dedication and career as one of the youngest marine pilots across Australia.

Southern Ports was also a finalist in the Environmental Award for its work to continuously improve environmental practices at Port of Esperance.

Southern Ports is a State Government-owned trading enterprise and one of five port authorities in WA

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