Port of Newcastle, World's Largest Coal Port, Looks for New Cargoes

Port of Newcastle's future multipurpose terminal site (Port of Newcastle)

Published Nov 14, 2021 10:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Port of Newcastle is set to commence construction of a multi-purpose cargo terminal, a major investment that will help the port diversify its coal-heavy portfolio. 

Newcastle, the busiest coal export port in the world, has opened a tender for the construction of its Mayfield precinct multi-purpose cargo handling facility. The terminal is designed to expand the port’s activities and grow new and existing trades. It is a step towards a long-term goal to transform the Port of Newcastle into a multi-purpose deepwater container terminal.

“The release of the tenders for land and water side construction works again reinforces the port’s commitment to future adaptation and another milestone that will go down in the port’s history books as a key step-change in our diversification journey,” said Craig Carmody, Port of Newcastle CEO.

Plans to construct the cargo handling facility come only days after the port said it was undertaking a $2.1 million feasibility study for a 40 MW hydrogen hub - an early-stage project that could be expanded to 1 GW in the future.

The Mayfield development site is a 220-acre parcel of waterfront land that was once part of the former BHP Steelworks. It has since been remediated to support the creation of the cargo handling facility, and it is the largest vacant port plot on the eastern seaboard of Australia.

The construction work will support the port’s $20.7 million investment in two Liebherr mobile harbor cranes, which are currently being built in Germany and are due for arrival in July 2022.

As the world’s largest coal port, Port of Newcastle handles 4,400 ships and 164 million tons of cargo annually, including dry bulk, bulk liquids, ro-ro, general and project cargoes and containers. It is particularly interested in expanding its containerized cargo facilities, but that element of its plan has been delayed by litigation. 

“Our diversification is critical to ensure we can create a strong, thriving port that will continue to support local jobs and the economic prosperity for generations to come,” said Carmody. “As the world’s largest coal port, we know that diversification is not an option for us, it is a must do, and as such, we are forging forward."