Ian Ackerman – Sydney
The tender for a second towage licence at the Port of Port Hedland has been awarded to iron ore exporter Fortescue’s wholly owned subsidiary Pilbara Marine.
Fortescue CEO Nev Power welcomed the decision of the Pilbara Ports Authority and WA minister for transport Dean Nalder to increase competition in towage services at the port.
“The introduction of choice and competition through the award of a second licence will benefit all users of the port,” he said.
Under the terms of the licence, the company is to build marine and landside facilities for the development of a tug haven behind Anderson Point berths 1-3 and provide towage services for an initial term of 15 years, which should begin by 2019.
The licence and facilities are to provide additional capacity and competition in the form of a second supplier of tug services for all users of Port Hedland.
Estimated cost for building the infrastructure and operating the tugs is estimated to be less than US$200m over the 2017 and 2019 financial years.
BHP Billiton has the other non-exclusive licence for towage services at the port, operating 18 tugs.
Nalder said the new licence would create jobs throughout the construction period and further employment in the operation and maintenance of the tugs and infrastructure.
“Port customers will benefit from increased options in tug services and the availability of services to meet future demand,” he said.
This article originally appeared on ABHR affiliate publication Lloyd’s List Australia.