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International Airfreight Takes off at Port Hedland

19 December 2013


Port Hedland International Airport welcomed its first international airfreight direct from Malaysia, with urgent cargo for mine site operations in Onslow.

Over the weekend of 14 - 15 December, the international freight passed through Port Hedland International Airport's newly registered Certified Terminal Operation (CTO), operated by Pilbara Cargo Terminal Pty Ltd.

The Convair aircraft, operated by Pionair Australia as Skyforce Cargo, delivered a cargo of four boxes of filters urgently required for a mine site operation at Onslow.

The cargo was picked up in Malaysia around mid-morning on Saturday, 14 December, arrived in Port Hedland at 6:45 pm. It departed Port Hedland early in the morning on Sunday, 15 December and was delivered to the Onslow mine site by 6 am. The total operation took less than 24 hours.

Prior to Pilbara Cargo Terminal's establishment at Port Hedland International Airport, this cargo would have overflown Port Hedland, been cleared in Perth, and then trucked back to Onslow. This would have added many hours to the delivery time in an industry in which downtime is money.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett said that the new CTO is yet another step toward achieving the vision of the Port Hedland International Airport. "This is a great example of the importance of Port Hedland International Airport to the region, and clearly illustrates our strategic position and the potential of our airport to become the primary air freight gateway to Western Australia and beyond," she said.

"With the Pilbara Cargo Terminal CTO, international freight destined to the Northwest of the State can be processed in Port Hedland, saving industry the additional costs of trucking from Perth to the Pilbara and beyond."

The air cargo industry is growing by 6% annually and accounts for 40% of world trade, with an annual value of $5 trillion. Over 65,000 tonnes of cargo passed through Perth last year.