Growing general cargo demand will strain capacity at existing Pilbara ports, such as the ports of Port Hedland and Dampier.
This growth is driven by the development of several spodumene (lithium) projects in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, responding to increasing demand for renewable energy, lithium and other metals from the consumer electronics, electric vehicles and energy storage industries.
Pilbara beef and agribusiness industries in the region are also forecast to grow exports markets. There is also a broader opportunity to provide more direct import and export freight facilities across the network of Pilbara ports to support the development of strategic industrial areas and reduce the volume of freight trucked to and from Perth.
The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit identiﬁes the opportunity for further economic growth in Northern Australia through natural resources, such as rare earth materials including lithium.
The initiative is for increasing capacity at the Pilbara ports, which will need to be considered as a network of ports including the Ports of Hedland, Campier and Ashburton.
Options include making better use of the existing port infrastructure, major upgrades to port facilities or developing new port infrastructure. It could also include developing new land for port activities and landside improvements, such as a logistics hub or road access upgrades.
The role of port-user charging should be considered as part of the funding options for the initiative.
This initiative captures the previous Priority Initiative for Port Hedland port capacity, which was submitted to Infrastructure Australia by RDA Pilbara. It was updated in February 2021 to recognise the capacity constraints across the network of ports in the Pilbara, based on a WA Government submission.