Ship numbers up but business as usual

The rise in the number of ships anchored off the coast of Wollongong is nothing unusual said NSW Ports Port Kembla CEO Dom Figliomeni.

In the last week or so residents have reported a virtual doubling of the number of ships queueing up off the coast, from five or six at a time to as many as 10.

It might give the impression business is booming at the port but Mr Figliomeni said it was part of the normal ebbs and flows of the shipping industry.

‘‘With shipping, it’s sort of peaks and troughs,’’ Mr Figliomeni said.

‘‘It’s not something like a production line, where it’s constant. One week you’ll get more, another week you’ll get less.

‘‘It’s just really a normal shipping pattern. We’re still below our record of 1014, which we achieved in 2011-12.’’

Mr Figliomeni added not all the ships we can see off the coast are destined to berth in Port Kembla. Some of the ships that anchor there are waiting to go to other ports.

The main business of the port is car carriers, iron ore and coal exports and Mr Figliomeni said the length of time ships have to wait is dependent on what they’re there for.

‘‘Car ships will come in within a very short time, a matter of hours,’’ he said.

‘‘Bulk ships, like coal ships, because there’s only one berth, will have to wait a bit longer.’’

He added these turnaround times can lead to a bit of a queue out in the ocean but that it would only be temporary.

‘‘We will get bunching of ships from time to time and then they’ll get serviced and then it’ll get back to normal,’’ he said.

‘‘Sometimes you might have two or three ships waiting for a berth and then after that, it might be vacant for a couple of weeks.’’

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