Port Hedland port capacity

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Opportunity for increased cargo exports
Priority Initiative
Port Hedland, WA
Smaller cities and regional centres
Opportunity for Growth
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Medium term (5-10 years)
Proposed By
RDA Pilbara
Date added to the IPL
26 February 2020


Growing demand for lithium to meet the requirements of the consumer electronics industry, electric vehicles and energy storage industries has encouraged the development of several spodumene (lithium) projects in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Pilbara beef and agri business industries in the region are also forecast to grow exports markets.

This growth, together with increasing general cargo demand, will cause the port of Port Hedland to approach capacity.

There is also a broader opportunity to provide more direct import and export freight facilities in the Pilbara region, rather than trucking freight 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.

Proposed initiative

The initiative is for increasing port capacity at Port Hedland, which will need to be considered in the context and system of ports in the Pilbara.

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.

Next steps

Proponent to identify initiatives and develop options (Stage 2 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework)