Port Hedland is a port town in Western Australia, with population around 15,000, ranking it 2nd largest in Pilbara region. It is also state's largest cargo port, featuring a natural deep-water anchorage harbour. Here are handled most of Pilbara's container ships, oil tankers (carrying fuels) and bulk carriers (carryng mainly iron ore mined near the town and moved to the seaport via railway).
Other major economic activities include offshore natural gas fields, manganese, livestock and salt. The town was formerly a terminus for WAGR Marble Bar Railway line serving the gold mining area. Between South Hedland and Port Hedland are located Dampier Salt hills - a major tourist attraction in the region.
Port's harbour is managed by Western Australia state-owned company Pilbara Ports Authority. Port Authority's headquarters, a heliport and control tower are located at Mangrove Point (west of Esplanade, Port Hedland's western end). Tugboat pen, public dock (jetty / cruise port) and customs office are at Laurentius Point.
Harbor's wharves are on both its sides – Port Hedland (east) and Finucane Island (west). Harbor access for oceangoing ships is through a narrow channel.
For season 2020, the cruise port had scheduled 2 ship calls by 2 RCI-Royal Caribbean liners - Radiance Of The Seas (February 22) and Serenade Of The Seas (February 28). Also in 2020, Port Dampier (managed by Pilbara Ports Authority) had its ever-first cruise ship berthing booked - Caledonian Sky (operated under charter by APT Touring Australia). Port Dampier is approx 20 km (12 mi) northwest from Karratha WA and can handle vessels with max LOA length 180 m (590 ft).
In late-October 2020, the world's largest container shipping company CMA-CGM announced that ANL (Australian National Line / 1956-1998-defunct, naming rights were acquired by CMA CGM) starts a direct cargo shipping connection (TEU-containers and project cargoes) between Port Hedland and Singapore called "The Pilbara Connection". Via Singapore as a transhipment hub, the Pilbara connection links Port Hedland to 400+ ports from the CMA CGM shipping network.