Newcastle Ports to diversify from coal exports

The world’s largest coal export port will diversify its traffic, with is incoming chairman saying the long-term outlook for coal was a threat to the port.

Coal exports currently comprise approximately 90 per cent of Newcastle Port’s traffic, and the decision has been called “a significant sign of the transition away from fossil fuels”, according to The Guardian.

“Coal has been at the heart of the Hunter’s economy for the better part of two centuries, and it will continue to be central to the prosperity of the region and Port of Newcastle for some time to come,” Newcastle Ports board incoming chair said Roy Green said.

“However, there is also an urgent need to diversify the Hunter economy and the port’s business.

“Clearly the long-term outlook for coal is a threat to the port and Hunter region, but it is also a huge opportunity. While the world’s demand for our coal is beyond our control, our ability to invest in new sources of growth and innovation is not. Among our challenges will be ensuring a level playing field for the development of a viable and competitive container terminal.”

The announcement follows NAB’s recent decision to stop lending for thermal coal projects, as well as AGL’s confirmation of the impending closure of Liddell coal-fired power station, despite pressure from the coalition to keep it operational.

Newcastle Ports’ announcement was welcomed by environmental groups.