The new chairman of the Port of Newcastle has said the port needs to diversify away from its current reliance on coal transport.
Professor Roy Green said the Australian port, which is the world’s biggest coal port, should diversify into cruise services, non-coal freight and containers.
“Coal has been at the heart of the Hunter [region’s] economy for the better part of two centuries, and it will continue to be central to the prosperity of the region and Port of Newcastle for some time to come,” he said, “however, there is also an urgent need to diversify the Hunter economy and the Port’s business.”
The port has already started diversifying, through investments in a new cruise terminal and non-coal freight facilities and Green said that one of its challenges would be “ensuring a level playing field for the development of a viable and competitive container terminal”.
The Port of Newcastle has a 98-year lease and is co-owned by China Merchants and The Infrastructure fund, who have a 50% share each.
Rob Henderson, former Chief Economist at National Australia Bank (NAB) said: “Professor Green’s plans to cash-in on the cruising tourist market and the growing container traffic in the Hunter make sound economic sense.”