The Port of Bundaberg continues to provide a vital link for the region's industry.
The Port of Bundaberg continues to provide a vital link for the region's industry. Mike Knott

Port's yearly report shows positive progress

IT has been a mammoth year for the Port of Bundaberg, which according to the latest annual data enjoyed substantial growth for exports, funding and a visit from a passenger cruise ship.

The 2017-18 Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) annual report assessed progress and performance of Bundaberg's port up to June, and noted a rise in throughput of several wet and dry commodities.

Commodities such as sugar, gypsum, wood pellets, bulk liquids, molasses and silica sand were shown in the report to have experienced a wave of tonnage growth in the past 12months.

"The Port of Bundaberg recorded another strong year, with 565.6kilotonnes of product handled,” the report read.

While sugar throughput took a hit - suffering a 28.55per cent decline in the past year - other commodities still showed promising growth.

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said the hit to sugar throughput was "disappointing ... however it's pleasing that Queensland Sugar are investing $15million to upgrade the terminal”.

"Council is working with the Wide Bay regional councils and GPC to develop a blueprint for unlocking the Port of Bundaberg's growth potential,” Cr Dempsey said.

"This will require a significant investment in road, rail and other infrastructure to deliver major economic benefits.”

One development boosting activity at the port was the opening of the Knauf Plasterboard manufacturing facility, which started operations last year.

"The first import of gypsum to the Knauf Plasterboard factory was a key contributor to growth, as were increased silica sand and wood pellet exports,” read the report.

The report noted a rise in silica sand throughput of 106,716tonnes this year, a rise of 23per cent on 2016-17 numbers.

Wood pellets also recorded an increase in throughput, with 46,390tonnes passing through the port and a rise of 25per cent on last year's data.

Cr Dempsey said the region needed the support of State and Federal governments to "work with industry and regional local governments” to continue growing the port.

That growth may not be too far in the future, with the report indicating an expected increase in dry bulk commodities to 619.0kilotonnes for 2018-19.

Cr Dempsey said the report would be discussed at next week's economic seminar.

"This (growth) will be a key focus at the regional economic development forum in Bundaberg next Thursday,” he said.

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