WASHINGTON: EASTLAND Port set a new cargo handling record in the past year with 2.5 million tonnes of product across the wharves for the financial year to the end of March. The new record throughput of cargo represents an 8.49 percent increase compared with the port’s previous financial year. “It reflects the increased volume of export logs coming out of East Coast forests,” said Port general manager Andrew Gaddum. “With the ever-increasing demand from Asia the log sector is booming.” Mr Gaddum said March was a solid month for the port and contributed to the record.
“Ten log ships took away 226,395 tonnes of wood and three refrigerated cargo ships took 2731 tonne of squash and 623 pallets of kiwifruit.” There was one successful cruise ship visit from the Golden Princess which tendered passengers ashore during her final visit for this cruise ship season. “An estimated 2.6 to 2.8 million tonnes of logs are expected for export for 2017 and 2018,” he said. “Beyond that 4 million tonnes of export product is expected each year.” Mr Gaddum said the port was a strategic asset for this district. “Soon we will need to make further major capital improvements to ensure it continues to provide the services we all need now and into the future. “We have to ensure our piece of the infrastructure is fit for purpose. “Because there is a downstream effect whereby anyone who has anything to do with the logs be it a faller, truck driver, diesel mechanic, shop owner or accountant, will benefit.” Mr Gaddum said more than one in four households in the region have a person whose job depends on forestry. “We want to unlock the port’s potential so it remains a source of opportunity for this district.”