The Mackay Ports (Now The North Queensland Bulk Ports) Authority

The North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) authority oversees several ports in the North Queensland area, including Mackay Port but also the Weipa Port, Abbot Port and Hay point Port. A government owned corporation, the NQBP was set up in 2009 after a 2008 review of Queensland’s network of ports. Essentially a consolidation of authority, the review directed the Ports Corporation of Queensland to release a number of ports under its management. On July 2nd 2009, the Ports of Weipa, Abbot and Hay Point combined with Mackay Ports Ltd to form the NQBP.

As a privately run government owned corporation, the NQBP operates in accordance with commercial imperatives, including generating its own sources of revenue. Dividends and tax equivalent payments are then paid to the local government of Queensland.

Responsibilities of the NQBP

One of the largest port authorities by tonnage in Queensland and Australia, the NQBP has a broad remit which ranges from safeguarding commercial activities to port maintenance. The NQBP is responsible for investing in infrastructure and business development ensuring continuing commercial viability. Day-to-day activities, such as issuing licenses, leases and permits for the use of port facilities are also handled by the NQBP.

Safety, security and adequate marine insurance is obviously a primary concern. The NQBP has drafted maritime security plans, approved by the Office of the Transport Secretary, for each of its ports. It is the responsibility of NQBP to maintain navigable water limits in port waters.

Within each port’s boundaries the NQBP must ensure that it manages its ports in accordance with environmental regulations.

The Ports

A number of commodities are exported in bulk through these ports. Mackay Port, located just five kilometres north of the city of Mackay primarily handles sugar and sugar products, grain and petroleum. The Port of Abbot deals in coal which is the chief good traded by the ports under the NQBP’s authority. Weipa Port, located on the north-west coast of Cape York Peninsula, mainly exports bauxite, mined from the Rio Tinto Alcan mines. Finally, the Port of Hay Point, located 40 kilometers south of Mackay, exports coal, over a huge two terminal operation. It is one of the largest coal exporting operations anywhere in the world.

Contacting the NQBP

For general enquires email or telephone 1300 129 255. The Mackay corporate office can be reached on 61-7-4969 0700 or at the following address, PO Box 3340 North Mackay Qld 4740.

Shipping enquiries should be directed to port or telephone number + 61-7-4955 8171.

Finally, for after-hours emergencies email or telephone +61-7-4955 5107

The effect of Covid

The international Covid pandemic has had a profound effect on ship movements both in and out of Australia. The strictest controls are being carried out by Australian Border Force to prevent any ship carrying the disease from entering a port.

The pandemic has had strange effects in the United Kingdom! Prime minister Boris Johnson imposed a 'stay-at-home' order on the populace and the result was that thousands of restaurants, bars and fast food establishments had to close.

Faced with having no income some of them started making home deliveries of food, which was allowed under government regulations, and now a whole industry has sprung up with thousands of self employed people delivering all kinds of food, from simple pizzas and burgers right up to full scale banquets! The problem was that many of these drivers didn't have the required car insurance for delivering food!!

Police in the UK had a field day and soon the courts were sending out huge fines to these unfortunate food delivery drivers, and even banning them from driving for being on the road without insurance.

The UK insurance industry, never a group of people to miss a trick, and not content with charging a fortune for insurance for drivers with convictions as a result of this, rushed out special insurance policies designed for food delivery drivers, at a very attractive price (for the insurers!) in double quick time.

Civilisation in the UK was saved. The populace can once again enjoy their pizzas, curries, beefburgers with chips and all the other essentials of civilised life. And as usual insurance company bonuses have rised yet again.

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