The Illawarra Business Chamber is marking World Maritime Day on Thursday to highlight the importance of continuing to invest in the future of ports such as Port Kembla.
The United Nations officially recognises the economic role the maritime industry plays with an annual day.
That’s because 90 per cent of the world's trade is carried by sea.
Illawarra First executive director Chris Lamont said it was equally significant to the Illawarra economy.
Mr Lamont said infrastructure planning and decisions regarding infrastructure investment must recognise the importance of Port Kembla, to the future prosperity of NSW and Australia.
He described it as a priority to continue investing in infrastructure that improves connectivity to Port Kembla and effective land use planning.
Because that will ensure the freight supply chain can operate 24/7.
Mr Lamont said Port Kembla provides a critical source of employment for the Illawarra.
It supports more than 5,200 jobs and makes a $760 million annual contribution to the Gross State Product of NSW.
And ports not only require supporting infrastructure and facilities close to the port.
But between cities and across regions.
“The continued growth of the Illawarra economy is dependent on investment in improved transport connectivity, as both rail and road are limiting the potential of the region and strategic assets, such as Port Kembla,” Mr Lamont said.
“The Illawarra is fortunate to have such an important strategic asset and it is important we leverage its full potential”.
Port Kembla statistics:
- Port Kembla is the largest motor vehicle import facility in NSW.
- More than 420,000 cars and other vehicles are handled each year.
- The Port is also NSW’s largest grain handling facility and the second largest coal export facility in NSW.
- The Port receives an average of 800 trucks per day and forecasts indicate this will grow to between 1,300 and 1,600 trucks by 2045.
- Rail freight to and from the port is also expected to increase, and investment in additional rail infrastructure would reduce time and cost of existing freight movements.