November 17 - Australia's Port of Townsville has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indonesia Port Corporation (IPC) to strengthen trade and development opportunities between the respective countries.

IPC is responsible for the governance, maintenance and operation of 12 ports in Indonesia; currently undertaking more than USD6 billion in projects to expand infrastructure, reduce shipping delays and boost trade.

Port of Townsville Limited (POTL) ceo Ranee Crosby said that the signing of the MoU was an important step for Townsville and would lead to a valuable strategic relationship with IPC that will provide both ports, and countries, with greater insights into growth opportunities.

"This is the first sister port agreement an Australian port has signed with an Indonesian port and we expect the partnership will facilitate knowledge exchanges that will be beneficial to both entities," said Crosby.

"Indonesia is an important trading partner for Townsville; key exports to our Asian neighbour include sugar, livestock (cattle), general cargo and refined metals, and imports of general cargo and urea fertiliser."

RJ Lino, president director of IPC, added: "The MoU signing is intended to mark the start of a more comprehensive cooperation between POTL and IPC Group, especially as IPC Group is initiating and undertaking a number of high-impact port projects all across Indonesia, including the greenfield of Sorong." 

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government has confirmed a USD55 million investment by the Port of Townsville to upgrade berth and landside infrastructure in the inner harbour, which it says will create much-needed future cargo capacity and improved efficiencies. 

The upgrade and redevelopment of Berth 4 will facilitate access for larger vessels, create a landside cargo handling area, and improve intermodal transfer of cargo to both road and rail.  The project will double the capacity of Berth 4, allowing an additional two million tonnes of product per annum. 

Although the Australian port's target in this project is growing container trade, the Port of Townsville noted that Berth 4's upgrade will also mean that it can accommodate project cargo.

It is anticipated that works will commence in early 2016, with the new upgraded facility scheduled to begin operations in late 2017. 


An artist's impression of the Port of Townsville's expansion plans.