Burnie Export Gateway


Port of Burnie, Tasmania

Type of infrastructure


Project scale

MAJOR (B4/F150)

Time frame

Near term (0–5 years)

Current Phase

Design phase, ready to commence Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) procurement. Assessing external funding sources.

The Burnie Export Gateway initiative will lay the foundation for exponential growth in Tasmanian mineral exports to global markets, enabling capacity for larger vessels to berth and ensuring fit-for-purpose terminal infrastructure. Importantly, this project will also enable growth in other commodities such as forestry and container export.


The Port of Burnie is a major Tasmanian deep-water port, located on the north-west coast. The Port supports a variety of industries, including mining, forestry, container freight, fuel and tourism.

Key industry activities at the Port include:

Forestry: The Port is a critical gateway for the movement of forestry products from northern Tasmania. The Burnie Chip Export Terminal (BCET) exported 1.45 million tonnes of bulk woodchips through the Port during FY2019. Alongside this, more than 550,000 tonnes of logs were exported through the Port.

Bulk mineral export: The Port currently supports strong bulk minerals export volumes to both domestic and international markets. The minerals industry in Tasmania is experiencing significant growth, as new Tasmanian companies seek to complete planning, logistics, supply chain and market reviews.

Container import/export: The Port supports significant container volumes for the benefit of Tasmania. As an Island state, container trade is vital to Tasmania’s economy, for both imports and exports. Container volumes through the Port for FY2019 accounted for 43% of the state’s overall container movements.

In addition, tourism is emerging as a growth sector for the Port, with cruise visitations increasing in recent years.

Project opportunity

In 2018 TasPorts launched its Port Master Plan to guide significant capital investment in Tasmanian port infrastructure over a 15-year period. The Port of Burnie was identified as a key component of this Plan, with significant opportunity identified to enable growth in bulk mineral exports, along with scope to develop an international container terminal.

The Tasmanian minerals sector has a significant growth volume projection from approximately one million tonnes currently, to between 6 to 10 million tonnes per annum.

A fundamental key to unlocking this growth is the capability to accommodate larger bulk export vessels at the Port to enable shipping direct to global markets, including South East Asia, Japan and China. Current mineral storage and ship loader constraints are also significant inhibitors to growth.

Bulk export industry representatives are aligned on the Port of Burnie as Tasmania’s preferred bulk export port. The only deep-water port on Tasmania’s north-west coast, the Port is also logistically suited to bulk export due to its close proximity to rich mineral deposits, such as iron ore.

Through a combination of dredging and the development of landside infrastructure, the Port offers exponential growth for the Tasmanian minerals sector and will also provide growth opportunities for dry bulk cargo, forestry products and international containers.

Investment in port expansion is necessary to ensure Tasmania can keep pace with supply-side pressures in the future, with economic modelling estimating that demand for port capacity will exceed existing capacity by 2028.

Project Scope

  • Capital dredging to accommodate Panamax vessels (up to 14.6m draft), at a DWT of 65,000–85,000 tonnes.
  • Port infrastructure development to increase volume of on port cargo operations.
  • Development of ship loading infrastructure, including mobile crane reclaimer, conveyors, stockpiles on port, undercover storage capability and road optimisation.

In order to accommodate future growth of up to 10 million tonnes of export, a second phase to the project (Stage 2) has been scoped and, subject to funding, would entail:

  • creation of a new deep-water berth (Berth 8) to accommodate vessels up to Cape size (18.8 metre draft), at a DWT of 125,000 to 200,000 tonnes;
  • reclamation of land to build a multi-commodity terminal with ship loading capability for minerals (bulk and concentrate), forestry and international containers.

Project benefits

The Burnie Export Gateway will bring significant trade and economic benefits to Tasmania through the provision of essential port infrastructure that enables exponential growth in mineral exports to global markets over a 30-year horizon.

Key project benefits include:

  • construction of dedicated bulk export terminal at a deep-water port within 30km of major iron ore deposits;
  • construction of bulk export infrastructure enabling multi-commodity, multi-user export through the Port;
  • future-proofing the Port with the capability to berth Cape size and Panamax bulk mineral vessels with a deadweight tonnage (DWT) of up to 85,000 and draft of up to 14.6m;
  • enabling an additional 1.5–2 million tonnes of iron ore bulk mineral export per annum, generating an additional $3.5 million in mining royalties for the Tasmanian State Government;
  • actively supporting growth of throughput, lifting capacity by up to 22 additional sailings per annum at 70,000 tonnes per vessel;
  • generation of up to 1,000 job years over the construction phase of the project, directly benefiting Tasmanian and Australian contractors, designers and supporting industries.

Strategic Alignment

The delivery of this project is of critical importance to the state of Tasmania and the Port of Burnie, ensuring a suitable working port, terminal and berthing space for the next 30 years.

The development is aligned with the following government strategies:

Tasmanian Trade Strategy 2019-2025
A coordinated whole-of-government approach to grow trade (domestically and internationally) with a focus on building trade in key sectors, showcasing Tasmania in priority markets, supporting trade logistics and market access, and building the export capabilities of Tasmanian businesses.

Our Infrastructure Future:
30-Year Infrastructure Strategy

Informing the Tasmanian Government’s infrastructure investment decisions and ensuring appropriate long-term planning for Tasmania’s future.

Berth 6 and Stage 1 project areas are denoted in red outline.

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