Port redevelopment set to boost Onslow business

Alicia PereraPilbara News
The Port of Ashburton and Chevron-operated Wheatstone LNG plant.
Camera IconThe Port of Ashburton and Chevron-operated Wheatstone LNG plant. Credit: Chevron

Works to transform the Port of Ashburton from a Wheatstone construction support base to general cargo port will begin in coming months as part of a move expected to boost business activity in Onslow and attract new industry to the region.

Pilbara Ports Authority this month assumed management of the port, 12km south-west of Onslow, and plans to start redevelopment works in the next few months to establish it as a general cargo port ahead of the facility accepting vessels from early 2019.

The port was built by Chevron to support the Wheatstone LNG Project’s construction but was always intended to be handed over to the State.

A PPA spokeswoman said the remaining infrastructure would be redeveloped to make the port capable of servicing general cargo, fuel and supply base activities in both import and export.

“The Port of Ashburton has been planned as multi-user facility to support the export of LNG and other hydrocarbon-based products and will provide opportunities for similar operators to utilise the port,” she said.

“It is expected that other projects and companies will make use of the port to export their goods to the world, supported by the ready supply of land at the nearby Ashburton North Strategic Industrial Area.”

“Once the Port of Ashburton is redeveloped to support general cargo movements it will present opportunities in both import and export.”

The Port of Ashburton has previously been flagged as a drawcard for marine supply base operators to establish themselves in the region, supporting increased oil and gas exploration, and a potential base for live cattle shipments from Pilbara stations.

Onslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Chantelle King said when complete the port would create more opportunities for businesses to work directly out of Onslow, especially for logistics companies that service offshore oil and gas facilities off the coast.

“It is pretty exciting,” she said.

“We would hope that it would create employment opportunities for local people, business growth for existing local businesses and also new businesses start-ups to service what requirements are needed,” she said.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the port could be a boon for business in Onslow.

“With the final handover complete, it is expected that other projects and companies will make use of the port which is expected to stimulate further business opportunities and create local jobs in the region, and the nearby town of Onslow,” she said.

“The handover is a significant milestone for all parties involved in the project and delivers a substantial piece of transport infrastructure to the State of WA.”

The Port of Ashburton has 312ha of common-use area, an infrastructure corridor and 250sqkm of port waters. Redevelopment works will include establishing security infrastructure, gatehouse administration offices and buildings, and cargo handling and storage areas.

The port is expected to start receiving cargo vessels from the end of the first quarter next year, and to be fully operational as a general cargo port by the end of 2019.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails