New Southern Ports chief looks to the future of Bunbury port

Port of Bunbury. Photo: Supplied.
Port of Bunbury. Photo: Supplied.

The Port of Bunbury is set to play an increasing role in Perth's growing freight task, according to new Southern Ports Authority chief executive Steve Lewis.

After 12 weeks in his new role overseeing ports at Bunbury, Albany and Esperance, Mr Lewis shared his vision for the future at the Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry's 'Over the Horizon' conference.

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With the state government's Westport Strategy currently assessing how Perth's freight trask will be handled over the next century, Mr Lewis said he believed the port's future was closely tied with that of Perth city.

"My view is that, regardless, Bunbury will play an increasing role in the Perth freight task - it will just be driven by the pure economics and the growth," he said.

"Regardless of when that starts and how that starts, we'll be growing organically in the meantime.

"Ports are gateways - they're gateways to the world, they're gateways to the state.

"Because of that, we have a unique place in the value chain - we're right in the middle of that.

"We have the ability to add value from that perspective.

"We're very conscious of the fact that we're about facilitating trade but also regional development and jobs.

"Like communities, ports are going to be around the hundreds of years - we have to think long term and about sustainability."

With the largest land holding of any port in Australia, Mr Lewis also flagged opportunities for growth and expansion at the Bunbury port.

"We've [Southern Ports Authority] got an asset with 400 odd hectares of land around a port - it's amazing," he said.

"There is really good scope there.

"It's a really great example of an intergenerational asset where the people that came before us did that work, got that land and established it.

"I very much appreciate the City of Bunbury's work in preserving it."

Mr Lewis was appointed in January 2019 following the resignation of previous-chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin and has more than 15 years of experience as a chief executive officer within the industry.

Looking back on his career, Mr Lewis said he felt that his whole working life had been directed towards becoming the chief executive officer of Southern Ports Authority.

"I am very excited by the opportunity of having those three ports and taking them somewhere," he said.

"We're open for business, as we always have been, and I'm very excited about being the new CEO of Southern Ports. 

"You will hear us doing more and more in the space of having a good, sustainable business and making sure our community grows regional development and jobs."

To have your say on the Westport Strategy, visit www.mysaytransport.wa.gov.au/westport