Tongan delegation welcomed to Port of Newcastle

Date: 12 April 2019

Tongan visit
A delegation from Ports Authority Tonga arrived in Newcastle yesterday to gain insights into the operations of the largest port on Australia's East Coast.

Port of Newcastle welcomed delegates, including Ministry of Public Enterprises CEO Sione Akauola and Ports Authority Tonga's CEO, Mosese Lavemai, and operations manager, Halloween Kisina.

The delegation met with Port representatives before a tour of the working harbour in the afternoon as part of a whirlwind trip to understand the scope and magnitude of the operations and diverse types of cargo that is facilitated through the global trade gateway.

The special guests were welcomed* to the city by local leaders, including Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath and Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon, before touring Newcastle Stevedores operations on Friday.

City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the visit demonstrated Newcastle's reputation as a regional ports leader and a global trade gateway.

"As an emerging global city, we're pleased to be able to highlight the benefits of Newcastle with current and potential international trading partners," Cr Nelmes said. "A key strategic direction of the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan is to increase global trade capabilities at the Port of Newcastle to facilitate diversification as we adapt to changing global demands, so we warmly welcome these collaborative discussions with our friends from Tonga."

Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said "Newcastle is well placed to play a key role in strengthening the social, cultural and economic ties between our nations".

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the visit was an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise with port colleagues in the Asia Pacific region.

"We are delighted to welcome the delegation from Ports Authority Tonga in a mutual exchange of ideas and innovation," Mr Carmody said.

"We look forward to showcasing the port and sharing insights from our 220-year history and plans for continued development of a diversified global trade gateway that generates more than $1.6 billion dollars of flow on benefits to the regional, state and national economies each year."

Ports Authority Tonga manages and maintains the operations and assets of Port of Nuku'alofa located on the main island of Tongatapu, Kingdom of Tonga.

The purpose of the visit to Newcastle is to study the privatised port infrastructure and the nature of existing stevedoring concession terms and conditions in Australia.

Technical and transaction support to the working group is being provided by Adrian Sammons.

Pictured (l-r): Mosese Lavemai - Ports Authority Tonga CEO; Halloween Kisina - Ports Authority Tonga Operations Manager; James Griffiths - General Manager, Newcastle Stevedores; Geoff Beesley - Managing Director, Newcastle Stevedores; Mosese Lavemai - Ports Authority Tonga CEO; Sione Akauola - CEO Ministry of Public Enterprises and Deputy Chairman, Cabinet Working Group; Nuatali Nelmes - Lord Mayor, City of Newcastle; Philip Watt - Operations Manager, Newcastle Stevedores; Sharon Claydon,  Federal Member for Newcastle; Adrian Sammons - Technical Expert Consultant, Ports & Shipping, Asian Development Bank; and Simon Byrnes - Executive Manager Legal Services, Port of Newcastle.

Media enquiries: Sam Collyer, Senior Manager Corporate Communications, via the Port of Newcastle media line: +61 2 4908 8214, media@portofnewcastle.com.au.