Port exports show growth
THE latest export figures for the Port of Bundaberg show a bustling economy ready to boom in coming years as the port reaches its full potential.
Last year 400,117 tonnes of bulk sugar was exported from the Port of Bundaberg, 66,831 tonnes of silica sand and 34,368 tonnes of wood pellets.
Indonesia was our biggest market for sugar accepting 168,653 tonnes.
South Korea was our largest recipient of silica sand at 55,066.
In total, the Port of Bundaberg exported 501,316 tonnes of cargo compared to 455,304 in 2015 and 315,759 in 2014.
Federal Member for Hinkler and Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Keith Pitt said the Port of Bundaberg was vital to the economy of the Hinkler electorate.
"The Port of Bundaberg is the export point for sugar and has recently commenced export of wood pellet and silica sands.
"We have seen steady increases in export volumes from the port over the past three years and I believe with our three Free Trade Agreements gaining traction now, the port has not only the potential to expand but the trade environment in which to do so.”
Last year saw the first anniversary of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the second anniversaries of the Korea-Australia FTA and the Japan-Australia FTA.
Under KAFTA tariffs for silica sand (formerly a 3% tariff), sugar (formerly a 3% tariff) and wood pellets (formerly a 2% tariff) were all eliminated on day one of the agreement.
"However FTAs are also beneficial to local food processors and manufacturers like Bundaberg Distilling Co, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Farm Fresh Fine Foods, Austchilli, Australian Ocean King Prawn Company and Schulz Fisheries,” Mr Pitt said.
"While these businesses may not yet use the port as an export point, the sugar industry does and South Korea is Australia's biggest export market for sugar,” he said.
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said Earth Commodities had conducted five trial shipments of silica sand into Asia since July 2016, and hopefully these trials would secure longer term contracts.
"Atlus Renewables have also developed a "wood pellet” export market and undertaken a shipment in the second half of 2016,” Ms Donaldson said.
"I meet regularly with the port to discuss their plans as it is a great hope for much needed jobs in Bundaberg.”
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said the latest export figures for the Port of Bundaberg were yet another tangible example of ballooning economic growth in the Bundaberg region.
"Council has worked hard with the State Government as part of the recent investigation into potentially proclaiming the Port of Bundaberg a State Development Area (SDA),” he said.