Mackay’s Southern Breakwater hosts top triathletes

The Port of Mackay’s Southern Breakwater will host the region’s top triathletes as part of the Mackay Triathlon Festival this weekend.

The breakwater will be closed temporarily from 2am to 5.30pm on Saturday 23 September and from 2am to 11am on Sunday 24 September as competitors run, swim and cycle around the Mackay Harbour precinct.

NQBP is proud to support the community event through the provision of access to the breakwater and port roads for participants.

Mackay Triathlon Club President Jenni Bailey said the use of the Southern Breakwater during the festival is one of the highlights of the event as it gives runners exclusive use for part of the run course and makes it an extremely safe cycle course for the kids.

“We appreciate NQBP’s ongoing support of community events and in particular our Mackay Triathlon Festival,” Miss Bailey said.

“The Mackay Harbour provides a beautiful backdrop for the festival and Mackay should be very proud of what we can offer,” she said.

Southern Breakwater hosts inaugural CITYRUN event

The Port of Mackay’s Southern Breakwater will provide a scenic background this Friday (15 September) for the first ever CITYRUN Mackay event.

The breakwater will be closed temporarily to traffic from 1am until 9pm as runners compete in either 2.5km, 5km or 10km loops in a bid to fundraise for the Great Barrier Reef.

NQBP is proud to support the community event and to provide participants with access to the breakwater.

Event director Bruno Bennett said the use of the NQBP facility was a highlight of the event.

“We’re thrilled that NQBP is providing the use of the breakwater for our first ever CITYRUN Mackay event,” Mr Bennett said.

“The location of this run has to be one of the most beautiful,” he said.

“It fits in perfectly with the two other events being run simultaneously at the Townsville Strand and Cairns Esplanade.”

For more information on CITYRUN Mackay visit www.cityrun.com.au 

The extraordinary career of Mike Boss-Walker

Forty years is a long career for anyone, but for a marine pilot it is almost unheard of – which makes Mike Boss-Walker’s career particularly impressive.

The Senior Marine Pilot at North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP), who retires this month, has had a varied and extensive career as a Master Mariner.

Captain Boss-Walker said it was the desire to be on the water and not behind a desk that first attracted him to life at sea.

“I started my working life as a law clerk – and I hated it,” Capt Boss-Walker said.

“I used to look out the window at the ships coming into Hobart and thought ‘That’s where I should be’.

“So, I went down on board a ship to find out about that and I found myself a cadetship and that was when I went to sea.”

That was 1965 and the start of his 12 years with both the Australian and British Merchant Navy, which took him around the world eight times.

The decision to come ashore was to take a role as assistant harbour master in Burnie, Tasmania.

“I didn’t think I would ever stay there but I ended up there 25 years – Deputy Harbour Master, Harbour Master, Deputy CEO – in all that time I was piloting ships,” Capt Boss-Walker said.

When he moved to Hobart as Harbour Master/Pilot it was a restructure of Tasmanian ports that caused a change of scenery, taking him north to the Great Barrier Reef as a Reef Pilot through Hydrographers Passage.

Four years later he returned to harbour pilotage, at the Port of Hay Point.

At the time pilotage at the port was under the control of Maritime Safety Queensland but was transferred to NQBP for the ports of Hay Point and Mackay in 2013.

NQBP Manager Pilotage Services Bryce Bathe said Capt Boss-Walker was extremely highly regarded by his fellow Marine Pilots.

“Mike is an absolute asset to the pilotage team, bringing first order pilotage skills,” Capt Bathe said.

“He is an amazing resource of information in regards to ship handling, managing bridge teams and his professional ethos in the marine pilot profession.

Capt Bathe said Capt Boss-Walker had piloted in excess of 7000 ships throughout his 40-year career.

“He (Mike) has been very generous in passing on his extensive knowledge and skills,” Capt Bathe said.

Capt Boss-Walker has seen more changes than he ever considered possible, with technological advances making a big difference to the way marine pilots operate. But he said the biggest satisfaction came from beyond the technology.

“It’s extremely satisfying to take a 300-metre long ship and put it alongside the berth and not dent or bend anything, to do it safely, and not damage the environment – it’s very satisfying,” Capt Boss-Walker said.

“You drive home and you’re on a high. You never stop learning and every job is different.”

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis thanked Capt Boss-Walker for his years of service both in other parts of Australia and while at NQBP.

“It is impressive for anyone to work in their chosen career for 40 years, but in this particular profession it is nearly unheard of,” Mr Lewis said.

“On behalf of NQBP I would like to wish Mike all the best in his retirement – he will most certainly be missed.”

It’s been an enjoyable and rewarding six years at Hay Point for Capt Boss-Walker, and he said it was a great place to finish his career.

He’ll miss the water and his colleagues, but the nearing of his 70th birthday made him realise it was time to set sail for retirement.

“I don’t know of anyone who has been a pilot for this long,” Capt Boss-Walker said.

“Most start out in their mid-30s and then retire in their 60s – I was in the right place at the right time to get the first job and such a long career.

“I’ve met lots of good people. I describe pilots as ordinary people doing an extraordinary job – and don’t get the adjectives mixed up!

“I love being on the water and I love being on ships, you just can’t do it for ever.”

Port of Mackay first port of call for BW Yarra

The Port of Mackay has welcomed the arrival of oil tanker BW Yarra on its maiden voyage.

NQBP Marine Pilot Phil Palmer guided the captain and crew into the port, presenting them with a commemorative plaque to mark the ship’s first journey.

Arriving late afternoon yesterday, the vessel discharged diesel on behalf of one of NQBP’s tenants.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the port authority was proud to welcome the ship and her crew to the Port of Mackay.

Constructed in South Korea and commissioned in July 2017, the 228 metre-long ship was built for global shipping company BW Aldrich Pte Ltd.

The Port of Mackay is one of the largest multi-commodity ports in Queensland in terms of cargo throughput, and is also the largest regional fuel importing port in the state.

Last financial year imported petroleum products through the Port of Mackay increased from 1,380,251 tonnes to 1,401,112 tonnes (approx. 1.5%).

Petroleum products imported through the port are distributed throughout the Mackay region with diesel being the main fuel import used primarily by the region’s mining industry.

Southern Breakwater hosts Magic Mile

The Port of Mackay’s Southern Breakwater will provide a scenic background this Sunday for the Mackay Road Runner’s annual Magic Mile event.

The breakwater will be closed temporarily from 5am until 11am as runners aim to be the fastest to cross the line in the sprint distance.

NQBP is proud to support the community event and to provide participants with access to the breakwater for the third year running.

Mackay Road Runners President Tim Magoffin said the use of the NQBP facility was a highlight of the event.

“We thank NQBP for allowing us to use the breakwater for the Magic Mile,” Mr Magoffin said.

“The location of our run has to be one of the most beautiful and Mackay should be proud,” he said.

Cowboys and NQBP join forces for Sarina community visit

This week we kick off their first joint visit to Sarina as part of our three-year community-based partnership with the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the partnership with the Cowboys aims to inspire young people in port communities and educate them about the importance of positive life choices.

“The partnership is centred on both organisations’ shared values of community engagement, leadership, innovation and integrity including a focus on Indigenous communities and children,” Mr Lewis said.

“Like the Cowboys, North Queenslanders have a pioneering spirit that sees us succeed even when times may be challenging and unpredictable.

“We understand that working in regional and remote locations brings with it unique pressures as well as many wonderful opportunities.

“When we all work together as North Queenslanders, we can stay ahead of the game to ensure we are ready to meet any challenges that lie ahead.”

As part of the partnership, the two-day visit to Sarina will include a variety of events including junior skills sessions, school visits and a business networking event for local businesses.

The children’s skills and drills session conducted by Cowboys club legends Brent Tate and Matt Bowen in conjunction with Cowboys development staff will be held at Ray Edwards Oval Senior Field from 4pm to 5pm on Wednesday 16 August.

A visit to Alligator Creek State School is also scheduled for Wednesday, while visits to Sarina State School, Sarina State High School, and St Anne’s Catholic Primary School will happen on Thursday 17 August using the personality power of the players to encourage local Sarina students to make the right choices for success.

In addition, Cowboys Chief Executive Officer Greg Tonner and NQBP General Manager Engineer and Development Dr Rochelle Macdonald will also be guest speakers at Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce networking event in Sarina on Wednesday 16 August from 6pm.

“Our partnership with the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys is designed to inspire children and reinforce a never-give-up message to the Sarina community,” Mr Lewis said.

Port of Mackay continues to ‘stack up’

The Port of Mackay yesterday welcomed one of the mining industry’s biggest and most critical pieces of equipment — a “stacker reclaimer” bound for the nearby Port of Hay Point.

The stacker reclaimer — used to move coal from incoming trains to terminal stockpiles and then onto export ships — will be unloaded at the Port of Mackay over the next two weeks and staged for transport to BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Hay Point Coal Terminal operations, about 40km south of Mackay.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) CEO Steve Lewis said the arrival of the equipment on the MV Happy Dover is a welcome development for the region’s ports.

“The Port of Mackay is ideally placed and equipped to handle break bulk trade, as demonstrated by the arrival of BMA’s stacker reclaimer,” Mr Lewis said.

“From Mackay, the equipment will be barged down to NQBP’s Half Tide Tug Harbour from where it will be transported in pieces through the public car park and then along NQBP’s specifically designed haul road and then on to BMA’s Hay Point Coal Terminal operations.

“This is the first of two stacker reclaimers that are to be delivered to BMA’s Hay Point operations over the coming months.

“The cargo is a significant event for NQBP as it highlights the strategic value of our integrated ports network (Abbot Point-Port of Mackay-Hay Point), and the vital role the ports play for the regional economy.”

Mr Lewis said there would be some impact on public access to the Half Tide Tug Harbour car park and nearby community park while the equipment was transported in coming weeks.

Engineering group Sandvik is keeping the local community informed about the temporary impacts.

The replacement stacker reclaimer will be barged in eight separate movements due to the size of the pieces of machinery involved.

With the heaviest component 267,000 kilograms and the longest 65 metres in length, the pieces will be transferred straight from ship to barge by crane to be taken directly to Hay Point.

Smaller pieces such as buckets and structural elements will be either stored at Mackay on laydown spaces or trucked directly to the coal terminal.

In total, the stacker reclaimer weighs 1150 tonnes and 65 metres long when the boom is fully extended.

“NQBP considers break bulk cargo to be an expanding trade opportunity for the Port of Mackay,” Mr Lewis said.

“A $17 million program of works at the port in the next year is budgeted as part of NQBP’s strategy to further unlock the port’s capability to attract new break bulk trade and continue to increase vessel numbers.”

Port of Mackay keeping trade afloat

A strong trade performance over the past 12 months has highlighted the critical role the Port of Mackay plays in driving a diverse regional economy.

From chickpeas to petroleum, figures released today show more than 2,900,000 tonnes of trade passed through the Port – an increase of around 77,000 tonnes and the third best annual trade performance on record.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the 2016-17 trade results – which represent an increase of 2.7% on the previous year – had been achieved in the face of difficult conditions.

“Total trade throughput for the Port of Mackay has remained strong during the 2016-17 financial year despite challenges within the local sugar industry and the effects of Tropical Cyclone Debbie,” Mr Lewis said.

“It is a testament to the resilience of our customers and port terminal operators that throughput has not only been maintained but has increased.

“I am pleased to be able to say that NQBP remains one of Australia’s largest port authorities, with more than half of Queensland’s trade, by tonnage, passing through our ports.”

Export-wise chickpeas once again provided a success story for the port, with molasses and scrap metal also star performers.

Imports of fertiliser, magnetite and petroleum products increased.

Break bulk cargo continued to grow, with an increase in inquiries received during the year, and more trade expected over coming months.

“An additional 8000 tonnes of equipment was transferred through the port over the past 12 months, reflecting the focus we have to attract this type of trade to the port,” Mr Lewis said.

NQBP continues to actively target break bulk opportunities given the Port of Mackay’s close proximity to the major regional coal mining and agricultural areas, and the major mining support services at Paget.

Our financial performance will be included in our annual report due to be released at the end of September.

Key contributors to the 2016-17 result:

  • Throughput was up from 2,829,464 to 2,906,955 (approx. 2.7%)

Exports (tonnes)

  • Grain exports increased from 139,550 to 228,638 (approx. 64%)
  • Molasses exports increased by 66,487 tonnes
  • Refined sugar increased from 256,163 to 270,633 (approx. 5.6%)
  • Scrap metal increased from 8,067 to 18,324 (approx. 127%)
  • Raw sugar was down from 790,011 to 643,308 (approx. 18.5%)

Imports (tonnes)

  • Fertiliser imports increased from 34,182 to 52,115 (approx. 52.46%)
  • Magnetite imports increased from 124,092 to 155,156 (approx. 25%)
  • Petroleum products increased from 1,380,251 to 1,401,112 (approx. 1.5%)

 

Bowen Jetty to provide even better Superboats viewing experience

Bowen’s iconic jetty is getting ready to take centre stage during when the Superboats come racing into town this weekend.

NQBP is teaming up with Bowen PCYC and Bowen Towage Services to make sure the community can take in the great views of the races in style.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said that this year – as well as offering an amazing vantage point from which to watch the race – shade, seating, food and drinks will all be available out at the end of the jetty.

“I am delighted that NQPB will partner with the local PCYC for the fourth year in a row to deliver a unique viewing experience for this popular community event,” Mr Lewis said.

“The Bowen Superboats offers a great opportunity for NQBP to actively take part in what has become a much-loved community event and to support the local PCYC, with all proceeds from the gold coin donation entry going back to the group.”

Tug Boat tours will also be available during the racing events, thanks to Bowen Towage Services (as long as the shipping schedule permits).

Mr Lewis said it was important to note that due to the increased activities available during the weekend, the jetty would be closed overnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Visitors also need to be aware there are no dogs allowed, or alcohol, at the jetty’s family friendly community event,” he said.

“Also, no fishing is allowed from the jetty throughout the weekend.” Race heats will begin from midday on Saturday, with official races taking place on Sunday from 10am.

Cowboys and NQBP join forces for Weipa community visit

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and NQBP kicked off their first joint visit to Weipa as part of a three year community-based partnership.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the partnership with the Cowboys aims to inspire young people in port communities and educate them about the importance of positive life choices.

“The partnership is centred on both organisations’ shared values of community engagement – including with Indigenous communities and children – leadership, innovation and integrity,” Mr Lewis said.

“Like the Cowboys, North Queenslanders have a pioneering spirit that sees us succeed even when times may be challenging and unpredictable.

“We understand the pressures of working in regional and remote locations, as well as the wonderful opportunities that brings as well.

“When we all work together as north Queenslanders, we can stay ahead of the game to ensure we are ready to meet any challenges that lie ahead.

“We hope that the Cowboys can inspire children and reinforce this never-give-up message to the Weipa community.”

As part of the partnership the two-day visit to Weipa will include a children’s skills and drills session at Napranum PCYC conducted by club legend Brent Tate in conjunction with Cowboys development staff.

Visits to St Joseph’s Parish School and Western Cape College are also scheduled using the personality power of the players to encourage local Weipa students to make the right choices for success.