07/03/2019 12:00 AM
A guide to the working ports of New South Wales
From Australia's cruise capital to the largest fishing fleet in the State, here’s a guide to the hardest working ports in New South Wales.
Up and down the coast, the ports and harbours of New South Wales work hard for our coastal communities. In addition to the plentiful ports providing fishing and recreation facilities such as Coffs Harbour, Bateman’s Bay, Port Macquarie and Kiama, New South Wales is also home to some of the most economically significant ports in the country.
Here’s a rundown of the major commercial ports that keep New South Wales open to the world.
Australia's cruise gateway and a working port in the heart of the city
Sydney’s world-famous deep-water harbour is also one of the busiest waterways in Australia.
Thousands of recreational vessels share the harbour with the hundreds of cruise ships that call into Sydney’s two cruise terminals each year: the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal.
Once the main entry point for all the city’s cargo before the development of Port Botany, Sydney remains a working port to this day. The berths at Glebe Island and White Bay have been a working port for over 100 years and are still a vital maritime supply route for bringing critical supplies to the heart of the city.
Around 1200 ships, including over 300 cruise ships, come to Sydney each year, each one guided in by the skill of local marine pilots.
Sydney has had a dedicated marine pilotage service for over 225 years and today, the city’s marine pilots make over 4000 transfers to ocean-going vessels a year — 12 a day — to help the biggest ships navigate safely in and out of the harbour.
One of Australia's largest container ports
Opened in 1979 as a dedicated container port, Port Botany has grown to become one of Australia’s most important and largest trade ports.
Around 1600 ships carrying over 2.5 million containers (TEU) pass through Port Botany each year. With each container carrying tonnes of manufactured good of all kinds, Port Botany serves the largest population centre in the country.
As well as manufactured products from overseas, Port Botany also specialises in bulk liquid imports including petroleum and natural gas.
Port Botany is also home to Sydney’s vessel traffic services, where vessel movements are tracked and navigation information provided to mariners across the port, Sydney Harbour and out to sea.
The largest bulk shipping port on the east coast
Australia’s oldest export port, Newcastle Harbour is one of the largest tonnage throughput ports in the country. With over 2,200 trade vessels visiting the port each year, Newcastle Harbour provides a vital economic gateway to the resource-rich Hunter Valley and for much of the north and northwest of New South Wales.
Cargo exported from Newcastle includes grain, vegetable oils, alumina, fertiliser and ore concentrates. However, it’s coal that’s the main export here, accounting for more than 90 per cent of the total tonnage.
Newcastle has its own vessel traffic services and, unlike the other ports in New South Wales, the majority of Newcastle’s marine pilots transfer to and from ships by helicopter.
The largest car importation terminal in Australia
Port Kembla, just south of Wollongong, is one of the Illawarra region’s key economic assets.
The port serves the needs of regional industries such as coal and steel and is the largest car importation terminal in Australia. It’s also the principal grain export port for producers in southern and southwestern NSW.
Over 800 vessels arrive in the port each year and, since 2016, cruise ships are also calling into Port Kembla along with their thousands of passengers.
Port of Eden
Home to the largest fishing fleet in New South Wales
Further down the NSW coast is the Port of Eden: the southernmost deep-water harbour in NSW. Port of Eden serves regional industries such as forestry exports, fishing and the Royal Australian Navy.
Eden is also a regular port of call for recreational vessels and hosts a growing number of visits by cruise ships. The Port of Eden will soon be able to host some of the largest cruise ships as construction is completed on Eden’s 110m breakwater wharf extension.
Over 100 large commercial vessels are assisted in and out of Eden’s port each year.
Port of Yamba
The easternmost port in Australia
The Port of Yamba serves the whole Northern Rivers and New England regions of New South Wales including the towns of Grafton, Maclean, Ballina, Lismore, Casino and Coffs Harbour.
Yamba supports a range of imports and exports and is home to the State’s second-largest fishing fleet as well as a vibrant shipbuilding and repair industry.
The Port of Yamba comes of the responsibility of the Newcastle Harbour Master and over 50 large vessels visited the port during 2017/18.
Read more about the working ports of New South Wales