Maritime / Maritime & Transport / Mining & Resources

Low coal prices placing pressure on regional ports

Craig Doyle, GPC

Craig Doyle, GPC

Craig Doyle is Chief Executive Officer of Gladstone Ports and will be speaking at the 9th annual Regional Ports conference in Cairns, 29-30 October.

Craig has transitioned to the ports and shipping industry in 2013 from the Australian sugar industry, with most of his career spent in refining, milling, marketing and ethanol production. He has held senior roles in all these areas, spanning Executive General Manager, General Manager and Commercial. This has given him rich experience across the country, particularly North Queensland; he has worked in Melbourne, Brisbane, Mackay, northern NSQ and Townsville, as well as internationally.

In search of a new challenge and identifying Gladstone’s rapid growth, Craig found a new berth in the Ports Industry, which he thinks isn’t too dissimilar from the sugar industry in that it is “large but quite small”.

In the lead up to the conference, we sat down with Craig to talk about recent developments in Gladstone, as well as the current pressures on the industry.

Craig, what are the latest developments at Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC)? Have there been any major highlights in 2015?

GPC reached 100 million tonnes of trade for the first time through its three ports (Gladstone, Bundaberg and Rockhampton) in 2014/15 – a new record.

We are forecasting for that to increase by around 15% (another new record) for 2015/16. The growth is predominantly on the back on the new LNG plants commencing operations on Curtis Island in Gladstone, the new Wiggins Island Coal Terminal starting up in April 2015 and some new trade opportunities such as logs and woodchip.

We have also completed a number of new major infrastructure projects recently. This includes the new tug base, coal terminal infrastructure and community developments area.

What do you see as the biggest challenges currently facing the industry?

For GPC we are intrinsically linked to the resource sector and in particular coal through Gladstone and through our large coal terminal operations.

The coal price is at historical low levels and this will place enormous pressure on our customer base as we move forward. The management of the trade, economic growth, maintaining jobs (we have approximately 760 people employed at GPC) and the ever-changing environmental landscape are other key issues.

Can you tell us a bit about what you plan to discuss at the 9th annual Regional Ports 2015?

I plan to discuss the following areas –

  • GPC’s growth over the last decade, with links to trade value, royalties etc.
  • Major projects undertaken
  • Key issues that needed to be addressed – commercial, environmental,  community/social, stakeholders during growth phase
  • Future issues for GPC and ports generally
  • Major strengths and opportunities of GPC assets and services

Craig will be part of an outstanding line-up of speakers at Regional Ports 2015, 29 – 30 October in Cairns. Please go here to view the full agenda and register now. Early Bird ends 25 September, with Ports Australia members also receiving a discount of 50% off the conference.

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