Careers in Stevedoring
Ports are a critical link in the logistics chain – a necessary gateway to international markets for the State’s exports and the entry point for imports. They are also a key requirement at the end of road and rail infrastructure for the effective transit of freight, be it mining exports or consumer products.
Currently eight multi-user port authority ports and eight non port authority ports are located along 12,500 kilometres of the Western Australian coastline. They handle over 4,000 international trading vessels plus thousands of interstate, intrastate, fishing and recreational vessels every year. However, the State Government plans to merge regional port authorities across the State in a bid to be more efficient and reduce red tape. Single port authorities will be created for the Kimberley (Broome), Pilbara (Port Hedland and Dampier), Mid West (Geraldton) and Southern (Albany, Bunbury and Esperance) regions, while the Fremantle Port Authority will remain stand-alone. The first process for amalgamation will commence in 2014.
Since 2000, Western Australia’s exports have increased from $25 billion to an estimated $101 Billion in 2012/13. This extraordinary growth has resulted in WA’s contribution to Australia’s exports rising from 26 per cent to 44 per cent in the past decade. More than half of Australia’s total trade tonnage is handled by WA Ports.
The marine cargo handling industry is made up of stevedores who work at the ports loading and unloading ships. They handle bulk, general and containerised cargo, operating increasingly sophisticated machinery and systems and handling hazardous goods.
Stevedoring operations are generally carried out by private companies under contract to the ports they are servicing and the ships that enter them. There are three major stevedoring companies operating in the larger ports in WA, with many smaller operators providing the service in the smaller regional ports. Some regional ports also employ their own stevedores.
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