DRONE: Bundaberg Port. (Photo taken 30 March 2020)
DRONE: Bundaberg Port. (Photo taken 30 March 2020)

No sign of virus impacts at port

COVID-19 has made waves in just about every industry over the past several months, but for the Port of Bundaberg trade has remained on course.

That’s the sentiment of port manager Jason Pascoe who said it was somewhat uncertain as to the extent of the COVID-19 impact however, the Port of Bundaberg service level has remained at pre-COVID-19 levels through alternative management protocols and measures.

“Any adjustments that have been made by exporters and importers have not shown in differentiation to trade statistics when compared to similar seasonal patterns,” he said.

“This is a dynamic situation and we are ready to respond to updated requirements for vessels arriving at Queensland ports as the need arises.

“GPC continues to maintain their crisis management activation until further notice.”

Mr Pascoe said the team was working closely with all agencies, stakeholders, customers and staff to ensure a consistent and co-ordinated response.

He said the Gladstone Ports Corporation has seen steady trade at the Port of Bundaberg with port processing sugar, molasses, silica sand and gypsum in the past three months.

In relation to exports, April figures are up from 0 tonnes last year to 25,694 tonnes this year.

May export figures have increased from 27,000 tonnes in 2019, to 27,080 tonnes in May this year.

For imports, April figures are up from 24,186 tonnes last year to 38,251 tonnes this year.

While May import figures are down from 16,311 tonnes in May 2019, to 8,305 tonnes in May 2020.

With the health and safety of employees and the community a “top priority” for the Gladstone Ports Corporation the company is acting on the latest advice from Maritime Safety Queensland and Federal authorities in relation to acceptance of vessels into Queensland Ports.

Resolute on creating success within the community, Mr Pascoe said GPC was looking forward to seeing projects such as the Buss and Newman Streets upgrade reach completion in September 2020, among other improvement works.

“The Trailer Suction Hopper Dredge Brisbane has completed its annual maintenance dredging campaign for the year, working around the clock to restore the main berth depth from 10.4 to 10.5 meters and channel depth from 8.5 to 8.6 meters,” he said.

“The $630,000 investment ensures that we keep the port safe and open for shipping and trade opportunities.

“GPC remains confident the Port of Bundaberg will continue to go from strength to strength and is committed to exploring new opportunities for the port moving forward.”

The GPC have also recently gone live with their Draft Bundaberg Land Use Plan; a statutory instrument developed every eight years that identifies Strategic Port Land and outlines its future preferred use in the medium term.

Mr Pascoe said the plan identified Strategic Port Land to be used for port and related industry development.

A LUP offers an opportunity for communities to provide feedback on how Strategic Port Land is developed and managed.

The LUP provides the framework for GPC to assess and approve development on the land.

The plan also includes maps of the Strategic Port Land, showing the different precincts allocated across the port area.

“GPC are resolute in our commitment to the Port of Bundaberg and believe it will continue to go from strength to strength,” he said.

“GPC invites the Bundaberg community to review the Draft LUP, encouraging residents to have a say on the future of the Port of Bundaberg.”

Public consultation will extend from Wednesday, June 10 to Friday, August 7 2020, with submissions to be made online, via mail or email.

The Draft LUP is available on GPC’s website, with hard copies available from GPC’s Kullaroo House in Gladstone, the Port of Bundaberg office or by emailing planning@gpcl.com.au.