Port Hedland Port Complex
Visitors to Port Hedland can take a tour of the Port Hedland port facilities. Tours run Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, and they start from the Port Hedland Visitor Centre. It is from here, that you will be able to see firsthand, the enormous scale of this iron ore shipping operation, a sight that will blow you away.
Port Hedland got its name from a captain that sailed into the mangrove harbor discovering what he called an inland lake. Originally used for the pearling industry, the town underwent a massive transformation when iron ore was discovered in 1960’s, and today, Port Hedland ships more than three billion dollars worth of this mineral every year.
A good vantage point to see the scale of this operation is under the Red Bank Bridge, where 365 days a year, iron ore trains carrying 26,000 tonnes of iron ore move through to a special dumping station. These dumpers are automated, picking up four cars at a time. The rotation of these cars means that the iron ore is safely and quickly emptied. This is quite incredible, especially knowing that this process takes place 24 hrs a day.
Another example of world leading technology coming out of Port Hedland is the safety factor in regards to the train’s wheels. Throughout its journey, the rail car wheels are photographed on every trip, allowing problems to be identified early, and quickly resolved.
Port Hedland is the world’s busiest port by export tonnage, exporting 120 million tones every year. With 500 ships, each 320 meters long and carrying 220,000 tons of iron ore, a visit to the port itself is again another mind blowing experience. With the harbor being relatively shallow, experiencing tides of up to seven meters, the ships have to be loaded preciously with everything being well timed to ensure that the ships are not grounded.
The enormity of the investment in the industry is not apparent until you come to a place like this. And with the rapid growth it has undergone, the port has the responsibility of being able to support this. BHP Billiton does their bit to support the local community by investing 20 million last year. For more information about what you can experience on your trip to Port Hedland, contact those with the expert local knowledge at Port Hedland Visitor Centre.
Port Hedland Visitor Centre
Address: 13 Wedge Street, Port Hedland WA
Postal address: PO Box 664, Port Hedland WA 6721
Phone: +61 8 9173 1711
Fax: +61 8 9173 2632