Iron and gas have delivered strong results for the Pilbara Ports Authority says the CEO, with the organisation exceeding its operational targets for the fourth year in a row. The PPA recorded a three per cent increase in throughput this year, totalling 752.4 million tonnes and valued at an estimated $164 billion. While the Pilbara’s resource industry is suffering from rising costs and labour shortages, PPA chief executive Samuel McSkimming said that the large demand for iron ore and liquified natural gas had offset these challenges and delivered big results. “The market for Australian iron ore is still really good and we’ve seen a two per cent increase in iron ore throughput,” he said. “That’s really down to iron ore producers working hard to overcome challenges. “The other big thing is LNG, we’ve seen a 10 per cent increase in LNG trade and that’s really driven by those changes in energy markets due to the war in Ukraine which has opened up new markets for Australian LNG producers.” Over 43 per cent of global iron ore trade and 7.5 per cent of global LNG trade passed through Pilbara ports in the 2022-2023 financial year. There was also a large increase in general freight through Pilbara ports which Mr McSkimming said was a positive development for the region. “We are now seeing one general freight ship every week across the Pilbara and that’s up from zero a few years ago,” he said. “That’s of huge importance not only to local communities but also the state.” Mr McSkimming said that bringing freighted goods directly to the Pilbara, rather than to Fremantle first, was an industry-led development driven by logistical and climate considerations. He said that multiple PPA projects were seeking to diversify the region’s trade and that Lumsden Point in Port Hedland and the Dampier Cargo Wharf projects were central to this goal. “The big part of the Dampier Cargo Wharf is the Perdaman Urea Project which will allow Perdaman to produce and export urea from Dampier,” he said. “Lumsdem Point is really important because it will create two berths predominantly for the export of the bulk products that produce battery metals, things like lithium and copper. “Importantly it will also allow for imported goods, particularly renewable energy infrastructure like wind turbines and solar panels.” Several new ports have also been earmarked for development in the region. Last year 17,500 safe vessel movements occurred throughout the four PPA operational ports, which equates to 48 per day.