“It’s encouraging to see cruise and trade begin to make a recovery following the initial impacts of the pandemic,” he says.
“We look forward to seeing these industries recover and remain focused on safe operations and facilitating trade to ensure the viability of the supply chain and overall economy.”
FRESH NEW LOCATION FOR DARWIN PORT OPERATIONS
Darwin Port supported its focus on staff culture, growth and progressiveness by completing an office move.
The move to East Arm Wharf will deliver cost savings to the business.
But the real benefits will be for staff as the new office location enables the port to bring together the workforce so they can work more collaboratively.
The new office is at 880 Berrimah Road, East Arm.
While the Federal Government’s ban on international cruise ships visiting Australia remains in force, the port has seen progress in a cruise shipping start-up.
The Australian expedition cruise operator Coral Expeditions restarted voyages between Darwin and Broome in May.
They were able to achieve this because their three vessels are Australian flagged, have Australian-based crews and are primarily catering to the domestic market.
Coral Expeditions have developed a vigorous Covid management plan, which has been approved by the NT’s Chief Health Officer and his Western Australia counterpart.
They have three vessels operating on the Kimberley coast.
While it’s a small start-up in comparison with what the port has previously seen through the harbour from the cruise sector, it is pleasing to see this long-term caller to Darwin back in business.
Lobbying continues at the federal level for the recommencement of international cruising on the back of the vaccine rollouts around the world.
Australian and international naval vessels have continued to call at the port over the past year, but in greatly reduced numbers from those experienced pre-Covid.
Crews for the most part have not been able to leave their ships, which is disappointing because they enjoy seeing the sights during their down time.
Tour operators and hospitality venues have also been impacted as they would traditionally do well from the crews’ shore activities.
The port has again successfully facilitated a US marine contingent rotation, which included the unloading, configuration and fly-out of military aircraft from East Arm Wharf to RAAF Darwin.
Defence has significant expansion plans in Northern Australia and the port continues to work in assisting with these plans.
TRADE BOUCES BACK
Following last year’s Covid-induced downturn in trade it was pleasing to see a bounce back in most sectors.
In the dry bulk sector, there has been increased volumes of manganese exported throughout the 2020/21 financial year, which is great news for OM Manganese, the operator of the Bootu Creek mine, and the many Territory businesses that support its operation.
It was particularly pleasing to see the first shipment of iron ore leave the port in nearly seven years, following the purchase of the Frances Creek mine by NT company Linecrest.
The port expects to see much more iron ore making its way to international markets via the bulk loading infrastructure as Linecrest works towards full production and the new owner of the Roper Valley iron ore deposit works through approvals to enable them to commence exports.
Fuel imports were slightly up on the previous year as business activity increased and the port began to see the movement of more aircraft through NT airports. Live cattle exports were slightly down but that was more to do with cattle availability in the Territory than any other factor.
Interestingly, the port facilitated the import of about 30 percent more motor vehicles year-on-year as the NT population followed the trend seen in other jurisdictions where people unable to travel spent their money upgrading the family car.
Total trading vessel numbers calling at the port were slightly down on last year, as was the total gross registered tonnage, which was influenced by the planned maintenance shutdown of the INPEX LNG plant in June.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT CONTINUES
The community support program continues with Landbridge and Darwin Port contributing more than $200,000 to worthy causes.
Support of the Clontarf and Stars foundations is an area that sees not only a financial contribution but the facilitation of work site visits and other activities involving the wider Port staff community.
This year, Landbridge partnered with Darwin Festival, Melbourne artist Joseph O’Farrell and a guest line-up of Darwinites to stage 10 Minute Dance Parties in a shipping container at Festival Park.
In the lead-up to the event, there was a series of DJ workshops facilitated by James Mangohig (Kuya James) for young Territorians, including Landbridge partners Clontarf and Stars.
The workshop participants then became the official DJs for the 10 Minute Dance Parties, running 65 sessions for 447 willing people over three nights.
Due to Covid restrictions, access to the port’s Seafarers Welfare Centre free WiFi became increasingly important for international seafarers given they are unable to leave their vessels while berthed in Darwin.
Funds raised at the popular Darwin Port Charity Golf Day were put towards the installation of wireless routers at each berth at East Arm to ensure seafarers could continue to keep contact with their family and friends without having to leave the vessels.
Darwin Harbour-related activities and organisations, such as the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, Darwin Sailing Club and Dinah Beach Yacht Club, were again supported financially with volunteers and in-kind support provided to the annual Darwin Harbour Clean Up day.
Support for industry events again featured in our community support contributions over the past year with Darwin Port sponsoring the NT Chief Minister’s Export Awards, Energy Club NT and the NT Cattlemen’s Association conference in Alice Springs.
SAFETY ALWAYS TOP PRIORITY WITH ISPO CERTIFICATION ACHIEVED
Darwin Port embarked on a project to obtain International Standards for Marine Pilot Organisations (ISPO) certification in early March 2021. While the port was confident that the pilot service was operating at international best-practice standard, having this confirmed by an internationally recognised third party was seen as highly desirable.
The certification confirms Darwin Port as one of only 30 pilot organisations having achieved this standard.
General Manager Operations, Captain Ian Niblock, says: “We were confident that our pilot service was operating at international best-practice standard, and to have this confirmed by such a prestigious organisation verifies this and assures our customers of the high safety and quality pilot service we offer.”
ISPO certification is valid for five years with annual verification audits.
LOCAL BUSINESS SUPPORTED WITH PROJECTS AND OPERATIONAL UPKEEP
The port’s engineering, maintenance and facilities teams have been working hard keeping our infrastructure in good order with the assistance of many Territory contractors. A total of $6.8 million was paid to primarily Darwin-based businesses during the 2020-21 financial year.
Projects of significance include a $2 million upgrade of Fort Hill Wharf mooring and berthing facilities and the development of an additional nine hectares of stockpile storage area at East Arm at a cost of $2.1 million.