The organisation has been restructured and key staff recruited to prepare for stronger growth in the next few years.
The bald statistics speak for themselves:
• 1569 vessel visits, the highest since 2018-19
• 91 cruise ships visited Darwin Port during the last financial year, the highest number for 17 years
• First exports of magnetite and lithium in 2023
Port Chief Executive Peter Dummett says: “The past 12 months have been a time of organisational restructure and recruitment designed to ensure that we have the necessary skill sets to take the business forward.
“Our head count is nearing the pre-pandemic numbers.
“We are heading into a period where many long tail projects, particularly in the resource sector, are very close to coming to fruition, which is very exciting.”
The port is nearing agreement with Northern Iron to ship magnetite from the Warrego project near Tennant Creek, 1000 kilometres south of Darwin.
Final investment decisions are expected on a number of mining projects within the next 12 months. The Northern Territory is well endowed with mineral resources and as part of the NT Government’s ambition to grow towards a $40 billion economy by 2030, there is a real potential for a significant increase in the number of operating mines. The majority of them will look to export minerals from and import consumables through Darwin Port.
The number of cruise and cargo ships calling into the Port of Darwin increased last financial year, up 18 percent from the previous 12 months.
In May, the port carried out 194 individual acts of pilotage, the best month since September 2017. The cruise industry has come back stronger than ever with about 45,000 passengers arriving on 91 ships in Darwin in the last financial year. Port General Manager Strategy and Growth Rhys Jones says: “We’ve grown and upskilled our team to be able to support this activity and they have delivered with a record season.”
The port continues to invest in additional infrastructure to support the growth of Territory businesses.
The benefits of significant investments in more stockpiling areas in 2021-22 are becoming more apparent with businesses using Area B. Further studies and assessment have been undertaken to increase shed storage, as well as being able to handle and accommodate an increasing number and range of bulk products.
The port continues to be a key asset in the export of bulk minerals. “We have seen a change over the past few years from exports being dominated by a single larger mine to now handling a wider range of more diverse products,” says Mr Jones.
Core Lithium’s Finniss mine began operating during the financial year.
The port plays an important role in providing a secure and carefully managed stockpile site as well as the ship-loading infrastructure needed to transport the lithium-bearing spodumene concentrate, which is a key ingredient for the production of modern batteries.
“We continue to work with a range of proponents with a number of additional mines expected to commence exports in the coming year.”
The port has played a part in major construction projects, such as the Crowley bulk fuel storage facility, Coonawarra naval base and the Barossa LNG project. It is a critical part of the supply chain for the projects by being heavily involved in a range of aspects, ranging from supply of construction consumables, the import and storage of equipment and parts, and providing large industrial laydown areas. The port is looking forward to continuing to play this role with the upcoming shiplift project being constructed by the Territory Government immediately next door.
A great deal of defence equipment moved through the port in support of military exercises.
The equipment ranged from tanks and other armoured vehicles to containers of equipment. The operations team played a part in the shipment of Australian M1A1 tanks, M113 armoured vehicles and support vehicles to Indonesia onboard the US military freight ship Robert T Kuroda to support a major combined exercise with partner nations. It was the first shipment of Australian tanks overseas since the Vietnam War.
Landbridge and Darwin Port continue to grow and strengthen partnership support of the Clontarf and Stars Foundations.
In addition to funding, the grassroots engagement between young Territorians of the two foundations and employees of the business is what makes the difference for producing meaningful outcomes and positive role models for our community.
Opportunities to mentor through involvement in work experience, academy visits, employment and “futures” forums, and sporting events, feeds into the focus areas of education, leadership, employment, wellbeing, life skills and sport.
These partnerships have enabled Darwin Port to host and recruit three apprentices who have transitioned into full-time employment – and they have all thrived in the working environment.
In 2020, a Jabiru Clontarf alumni apprentice was awarded Aboriginal Apprentice of the Year, and recently Palmerston College Clontarf alumni apprentice Thomas Norris won Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Stage 2 at the GTNT Group awards.
A third apprentice, 2023 year 12 Palmerston academy student Andrew Riddle started a school-based apprenticeship and will transition to full-time employment next year.
Landbridge and Darwin Port are actively building skill and capability in the trades and maritime sector. Injection into community collaboration and sponsorship continues to evolve, helping to boost local events and activities.
As a proud sponsor of Darwin Festival, Clontarf and Stars students this year had the chance to enjoy an exclusive soundcheck, behind-the-scenes access and a meet-and-greet with rising stars Budjerah and Jacotene.
Landbridge also sponsored Darwin Festival’s closing concerts, with two sold-out shows by acclaimed artists Katie Noonan and The Whitlams, held at the iconic Darwin Ski Club.
Other community support provided by Darwin Port includes Darwin Sailing Club, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard and Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Club.
Industry support includes the Chief Minister’s Export Awards, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, LIVEX, Seafood Industry Awards and Young Livestock Exporters Network