CQ port keeps pace with rising world coal demand

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

GLADSTONE is living up to its name as Port City to the World, with local port facility's handling demand despite a call for more port facilities throughout the state.

Some Queensland ports have struggled with the demand of the continually growing coal industry.

The lack of facilities is said to be causing ships to queue for extended periods, costing port customers money.

Upgrades worth $486 million for coal facilities in the state have been recently announced to deal with the demand.

However, Central Queensland Ports Authority (CQPA) chairman Peter Corones said local facilities were meeting the demand.

"The Port of Gladstone has had sufficient coal-handling capacity to handle current demand, and as such, except for issues associated with mine flooding at the beginning of the year, ship queuing has been kept to a minimum,'' Mr Corones said.

The timely loading and unloading of ships appears likely to improve.

A $167.5 million expansion of the port's RG Tanna Coal facilities will result in a 50 per cent increase in local coal capacity over three years.

"The 25 million tonne capacity expansion currently under way should help ensure that ship queuing, and as a result, ship demurrage, does not become a major issue at the Port of Gladstone,'' Mr Corones said.

During a recent visit to Gladstone Queensland Premier Peter Beattie highlighted Gladstone's role in the state's exporting facilities.

Mr Beattie said the growth of the Gladstone port facilities during the past quarter showed its importance for Queensland.

"The value of those exports through Gladstone rose 29.7 per cent from $788 925 million to $1.023 billion ? as compared to the same quarter last year,'' Mr Beattie said.

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