A NEW chairman has been appointed to oversee the Port of Portland as it looks set to smash previous export records.
Former Tasmania Ports Corporation director Bruce McGowan has been made non-executive chairman of Portland, Victoria’s third largest port.
Mr McGowan is best known for rolling Tasmania’s four ports into the one business and is also a former non-executive director and senior executive for BHP Billiton.
The port is co-owned by the Utilities Trust of Australia and Palisade Ports.
Both companies appoint two members each to the board with Mr McGowan to take up an independent chair on the board.
Port chief executive Jim Cooper said the port was still on track to break records. “In the next 12 days we expect to hit six million tonnes for the year, which is our all-time record,” Mr Cooper said.
Up to 5.4 million tonnes moved through the port in the 2013 and 2012 financial years.
“The real factor is the building boom in China and demand for our forestry products,” he said.
“There’s also demand for mineral sands.”
Mr Cooper said grain growers had also experienced a good year, creating a surge of output through the port.
In March this year The Standard reported that a tree beetle pest in North America had damaged forestry plantations leading to China to suspend some timber imports.
That in turn has led to a greater purchase of logs from the Green Triangle in the south-west and South Australia.