Port of Newcastle Vessel Scheduler Jeff Tamsett will bid farewell after nearly 40 years working in all facets of port operations, having witnessed incredible change as the industry and technology has shifted to meet shifting global demands.
Mr Tamsett first joined Port of Newcastle, then Maritime Services Board, in early 1982 as an electrician in anticipation of the Port’s expansion to support the growing demand for Australian coal. He completed his electrical apprenticeship in 1977 with Electric Lamp Manufacturers of Australia which produced its last light globe in April 2002, after more than 70 years in production.
“At the time the Port was set to undergo major development of the coal loading terminals along Kooragang Island. The only infrastructure along Kooragang was the old bulk unloaders at the K2 berth. The original Carrington coal loader was operating as well as the BHP steelworks along Dyke berths four and five,” said Mr Tamsett.
Mr Tamsett has navigated an interesting career beginning as electrician, a stint in the property department, completing his coxswain ticket and moving to the pilot’s station, then manning Nobby’s signal station at the Lighthouse, through to the Vessel Traffic Information Centre at NSW Port Authority.
Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said Mr Tamsett has made an immeasurable contribution to the Port of Newcastle throughout his career.
“Over an impressive 39 years, Jeff Tamsett has navigated an interesting career working across almost every aspect of port operations. In this time, Jeff has made an incredible contribution to Port of Newcastle has it has evolved and continues to do so today, as we seek to diversify the Port for the future. I would like to congratulate Jeff on an impressive career and we wish him all the best for a safe and happy retirement,” said Mr Carmody.
On occasion in the early days Mr Tamsett said he had the opportunity to operate the control room, loading coal onto ships as at the time electricians were often redeployed to backfill control room technicians.
He finishes a varied and vibrant career at the helm of port operations as a Vessel Scheduler, a role he says he took up at the time of privatisation five years ago due to the appealing challenging nature of the work.
“In conjunction with coal terminals, shipping agents and NSW Port Authority, you are charged with curating a 24-hour program of shipping movements. There is a fair bit of responsibility in the role. You have a lot of companies invest a lot of money which rely on the vessel scheduler to get their cargo from origin to destination.
“It is all well and good when your parameters are in order, but on any day a curve ball can be thrown, in the form of a weather event, a ship arriving late, a sick pilot, or an event further down the supply chain. Then you have to adapt that plan and make good decisions on the run. A lot of things you won’t learn unless you’ve been with a place for a long time.”
Reflecting on his career, Mr Tamsett said the variety of work across port operations and the passionate people he has worked with made his time immensely enjoyable.
“Looking back, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working at Port of Newcastle. When there is interesting of work on offer at a place like the Port it tends to attract enthusiastic people and create that sense of community. I had the chance to work with many great minds and work in half a dozen different roles, this has made it go quite quickly.”
As a major infrastructure asset, Mr Tamsett says Port of Newcastle has been at the forefront of many changes in infrastructure, technology and environmental management.
“Having been in a business working in the field for such a long time, I have been able to see technology, processes and infrastructure change first-hand. From what we now consider pretty basic to a level you had never expected.”
“It is magnificent to see the changes in how we approach the environment. The industry has come a long way, and to see the Port’s Environment Social and Governance Strategy in full force with the transition to renewable energy, industry leading environmental management and controls, and a focus on sustainability is fantastic.”
After nearly 40 years, the father of three has more than earned his retirement and plans to hit the road in a motor home and travel to all corners of Australia at a leisurely pace with his wife.