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Specialist heavy lift ship to deliver one of the largest pieces of cargo to ever arrive in the Port of Newcastle

One of the largest single pieces of machinery to be brought into the Port of Newcastle will arrive tomorrow, Sunday 16 May.

At over 62 metres high and weighing 750 tonnes, the $35 million bulk ship unloader is set to become a prominent part of Newcastle’s maritime landscape as the port diversifies.

A specialist heavy lift ship, the 19,000-tonne HAPPY STAR, will deliver the important cargo ahead of a meticulously-planned operation to safely transfer it onto Port of Newcastle’s K2 berth in its Bulk Precinct at Walsh Point.

HAPPY STAR is a 156-metre-long vessel featuring two 1,100 metric ton heavy lift mast cranes which make her ideally suited to handling heavy project cargoes.

The Big Lift vessel has been on a two-week journey from Vietnam to deliver the crane to Port of Newcastle. The bulk ship unloader is being installed at Newcastle Bulk Terminal and has capacity to unload bulk cargo – such as fertilisers, meals, mineral sands and various other bulk cargoes – at up to 1,200 tonnes per hour.

This unloading rate would be available as part of the second phase of the project, which includes the latest conveyor infrastructure to link the berth directly to nearby customer storage and load-out facilities. This will be a significant increase on current discharge rates, vastly improving berth efficiency.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the arrival of the state-of-the-art unloader was a significant milestone in optimising bulk handling efficiencies at the Port.

“The previous two unloaders were built in 1968 and were decommissioned in 2018 in order to be replaced with machinery that delivers the highest standards in safety and environmental management and a superior commercial outcome for customers,” Mr Carmody said.

“This investment is part of Port of Newcastle’s commitment to providing the most efficient supply chain for internationally-trading businesses and, ultimately, support the Hunter’s economic growth.” The new unloader will now undergo a commissioning phase, which includes rigorous testing and training for crane operators and maintenance teams.

It is expected the commissioning will take approximately four months with the ship unloader ready for operation in late 2021.