Port Kembla is Wollongong City's suburb and cargo port in NSW Australia, located approx 8 km (5 ml) south of the city's Central Business Distric. Wollongong is part of Illawarra (coastal region) in NSW (New South Wales) Australia. Port Kembla is ranked NSW's 2nd largest coal export port (after Newcastle NSW).
The suburb Port Kembla comprises a seaport, small harbour, small town, large industrial complex and a nature reserve. Port Kembla has population around 5,000. Wollongong City's population is around 300,000, ranking it NSW's 3rd largest city (following Sydney and Newcastle) and the country's 10th largest.
The seaport is located on the tip of Red Point. Its name means "plenty [of] wildfowl" (Aboriginal). Port Kembla has a man-made harbour waterway. The outer harbor is protected by breakwaters. The inner harbour was created by dredging. The port is managed by Port Kembla Port Corporation.
The harbour is a prime coal export shipping location. The coal is mined in NSW's western and southern regions and transported via railways. Port Kembla's port was founded in the late-1890s to facilitate the coal export from Illawarra. Today, the port handles mainly general and breakbulk cargo vessels, motor vehicle (import) vessels, bulk grain (export) ships.
In 2013, the private NSW Ports Consortium leased Port Kembla's port. The company soon revealed its expansion plan to enlarge the outer harbor, thus creating hundreds of local jobs and adding millions to Illawarra's economy. By this plan, the port will quadruple its cargo shipping capacity by allowing much more and bigger vessels into the harbor.
- The NSW government leased the port to the consortium for 99 years (for AUD 760 million). The projected annual bulk cargo shipping volume is around 16 million tons. This impressive volume is almost 4 times larger than the previously approved 4,25 million tons at the port's multi-purpose wharf.
- The port harbour expansion project was approved in 2011, due to completion by 2037. The plan also involves more dredging to allow ships with larger draft (Super-Post Panamax vessels) to use the port's terminals and also larger boxships to use its container wharves.
- The number of expected ship visits per year is around 170. Port Kembla statistics show that each ship arrival adds around AUD 1 million to Illawarra's economy and also generates 4 port-related local jobs.
- The extra cargoe transported by rail is 13 trains a day, which is 9 more than the previously approved 4 trains with direct access to the outer harbor.
In August 2015, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) announced that the company tests Port Kembla as a potential homeport (turnaround port for roundtrip itineraries) for RCI's Australian fleet.
- RCI operates the world's ever largest cruise liners. The company has spent years in seeking a solution to the berths shortage at Sydney Harbour. At Sydney AU cruise port's largest terminal can dock one vessel at a time. Sydney's second biggest terminal White Bay is inaccessible to bigger ships due to Sydney Harbour Bridge's height restriction.
- RCI is considering 2 homeport alternative locations - Port Botany (12 km southeast of Sydney) and and Port Kembla (80 km south of Sydney).
- For the first time, RCI cruise ship (Radiance of the Seas) docked in Port Kembla in October 2016. The call was part of a 7-night East Coast & Tasmania cruise from Sydney. The cruise liner brings around 2400 passengers and injects USD 890,000 into Illawarra's economy.
In June 2018, the consortium Australian Industrial Energy selected Port Kembla as NSW's first LNG import terminal (Liquefied Natural Gas. When built, the facility (Port Kembla Gas Terminal / PKGT) will be able to supply LNG sufficient to meet over 70% of state's total gas needs. The LNG terminal project would cost between USD 200-300 million. It will generate around 150 local jobs (during construction phase) and around 50 permanent jobs. However, the increased gas supply to NSW would result in over 15,000 new NSW (Illawarra region) jobs and around 300,000 manufacturing jobs throughout the state.
Port Kembla cruise terminal
The following Port Kembla map shows all the port's infrastructure as roads, railways, terminals, piers and other facilities. The Outer Harbour is the port's turning basin (swinging basin) where vessels (including cruise ships) maneuver before docking.
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