Across the port from the Port Authority office, we are greeted by Greg Harrap, Specialist Advisor Projects and Maintenance Systems.
“Three berths and three loaders, each with a capacity of 10,500 tonnes per hour at the Kooragang facility and two additional berths just across the river at Carrington where there are two loaders, each with a capacity of 2,500 tonnes per hour, make us the largest coal export facility in the world,” he says. He kindly takes us on a tour of the very modern Kooragang facility, which can store some 3.6 million tonnes of coal.
Rail transport carries over 99 per cent of all Hunter Valley coal moved to the terminals. The demand for Hunter Valley coal has grown by more than 41 per cent over the past decade.
The latest expansion plans of Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) will bring this company’s capacity to 113 million tonnes per year. (And a new coal export facility will be built next to this by the NCIG consortium, further expanding the total output from the Newcastle port.) Drawing from around 20 coal suppliers providing a diversity of coal types using sophisticated blending and quality control techniques, this makes PWCS the world leader in coal handling.
Kooragang Coal Terminal
Kooragang Coal Terminal, located on 160 hectares of land on Kooragang Island, began operating in 1984. ‘Kooragang’ is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘place where birds gather’ (alternatively, ‘place of many birds’).
Originally managed by BHP, PWCS purchased the Kooragang facility in 1990. In the period 1994–2002, PWCS invested AUD 700 million to expand the capacity of this terminal. This expansion programme included the addition of a second and third rail receival facility, additional stockpiling capacity and a second and third shiploading stream.
Two additional berths were constructed, increasing the capacity of the terminal to 64 Mtpa. Three Capesize vessels can now be berthed and loaded simultaneously at the Kooragang terminal.
Following completion of the previous expansion of the Kooragang Coal Terminal in March 2007, the combined shiploading capacity of the two terminals operated by PWCS at Kooragang and Carrington is currently 102 million tonnes per year. The stage three expansion at Kooragang was in line with the terminal’s Master Plan. Carrington will maintain its current 25 million tonne annual capacity while Kooragang has increased to 77 million tonnes.
Carrington Coal Terminal
The Carrington terminal, located on
40 hectares in Newcastle NSW, began operating in 1976 with an initial shiploading capacity of 16 million tonnes
Expansion at the terminal has increased the shiploading capacity to
25 million tonnes per year. This capacity remains the same at present even though some of the conveyor systems and machines have been decommissioned. The Carrington terminal is also owned and operated by Port Waratah Coal Services.