GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
5.5.1 Current state and trends of ports
There are 12 ports in or adjacent to the Region (Figure 5.15). Of these, eight are located at least partly in the Region and only the minor ports of Cooktown and Quintell Beach in Cape York are located within the Marine Park. In 2011–12, ports within or adjacent to the Region accounted for 76 per cent of the total throughput for all Queensland ports combined. This amounted to 199.8 million tonnes of imports and exports through the Region, up from 191.5 million tonnes in 2008–09.90 In that same year, for all Queensland ports combined, coal made up 63 per cent of the throughput volume, petroleum products six per cent, and metals and minerals five per cent.91 Other commodities include agricultural products, and general cargo. The four busiest ports in relation to commercial vessel visits in 2011–12 were Gladstone (1453 visits), Hay Point (809 visits), Townsville (747 visits) and Cairns (720 visits).90 In terms of infrastructure and operational capacity, the largest ports on the Region’s coast are Abbot Point, Gladstone, Hay Point and Townsville. Over the last decade, the total throughput of these ports has increased (Figure 5.16). The Gladstone, Abbot Point and Hay Point ports are major hubs for the export of coal.92 Hay Point is one of the largest coal export terminals in the world93, handling more than 80 million tonnes of coal in 2011–12.90 During 2010–11, it had the highest value of coal exports among all Queensland ports at $18 billion.94 There has been major growth in port activity on the Region’s coast over the past two decades.95 Increases in bulk commodity exports from these ports are driving increases in shipping. As at February 2014, four of the 12 ports (Cairns, Townsville, Hay Point and Gladstone) had active proposals for port expansions, driven mainly by growth in the resources sector. During 2012 and 2013 there were proposals for the development of three new ports along the Region’s coast (Wongai in Cape York, the Fitzroy terminal project, and Balaclava Island — now withdrawn). Not all current proposals may proceed.
Great Barrier Reef ports account for about three-quarters of Queensland’s port throughput.
Figure 5.15 total port throughput, 2011–12
Dredging — the extraction of parts of the seafloor to deepen an area for improved access — has been undertaken in ports and associated access channels for many decades but now involves much greater volumes. Today, both capital and maintenance dredging are undertaken within and adjacent to the Region, including in large-scale programs at major ports, smaller scale programs at minor ports and to provide access to islands within the Region. Most large-scale dredging and dredge material disposal are associated with the larger and busier ports such as Townsville, Abbot Point, Mackay, Hay Point and Gladstone.94 Dredge material (sediments and other material from the seafloor) may be disposed at sea or on land. Some permitted ocean disposal sites are located within and adjacent to the Region. Between 2001 and 2013, the total volume of dredge material (from both capital and maintenance dredging) disposed in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area was approximately 28 million cubic metres (Figure 5.17). In January 2014, a proposal for Abbot Point was approved to dispose of three million cubic metres. Proposals involving sea disposal
In 2011–12, ports within or adjacent to the Region handled 76 per cent of the throughput for all Queensland ports. Cargo throughput (in millions of tonnes) is imports and exports combined. Source: Ports Australia 201290
Figure 5.16 throughput of four major ports, 2000–01 to 2012–13
Department of Transport and Main Roads (Qld) 201496
Over the last decade, the total throughput (imports and exports) of the four major ports has increased, especially the ports of Gladstone and Hay Point. Source: Ports Australia 201290 and