In its heyday, the BHP Steelworks facility at Mayfield was rooted in the identity of Newcastle – the Steel City. It played an important role as the city’s biggest employer and as an economic driver sustaining businesses that serviced the industry. Its closure in 1999 shook the region’s economic foundations and the community. The impacts are still felt today.

The BHP site was identified in the 1990s as ideally placed to accommodate a container terminal. Two decades after the Steelworks’ closure, that dream is becoming a reality. The 90 hectares of land will be brought back to life with the construction of the Newcastle Multi-purpose Deepwater Terminal (MDT). The MDT will power the Hunter economy for generations to come and put the site to productive use again. With it, the MDT will bring $2.5 billion of economic activity to Australia as well as 15,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Read more about the significant contribution the MDT will make to the Hunter Region.

The Vision

The vision is to construct and operate a world-class, highly-automated container terminal that enables NSW businesses to be more globally competitive by providing more efficient access to international markets. It will have direct ship-to-rail capability, reducing freight time and costs and double-handling of cargo. It will have a throughput capacity of 2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (standard twenty foot containers or ‘TEUs’) per year, and ensure that Australia is prepared for the future of container shipping and the industry’s transition to the much larger Ultra Large Container Vessels (ULCVs) now operating around the world.

The MDT will deliver substantial cost savings for NSW exporters and importers. The MDT represents a once in a generation opportunity for the Hunter Region.

View a 3D animation of the Newcastle container terminal concept design.

Commercial benefits of the container
terminal at Newcastle

Located midway along Australia’s Eastern Seaboard, with direct connections to national heavy rail and road networks, Newcastle is an efficient option for importers and exporters in northern, western, north western and far western NSW.

Economic analysis by AlphaBeta identified that regional NSW businesses, including those in the Upper Hunter, Narrabri, Tamworth and Port Macquarie would save up to $586 per standard container by shipping through Newcastle compared with Sydney or Brisbane.

The Port of Newcastle Transport Economics Study, prepared by Lycopodium, estimated that the cost of direct transport of containers to Newcastle, servicing the natural freight corridor, is reduced by 30-50%.

Driving economic stimulus and job creation

The MDT project has potential to be a major growth catalyst for the Hunter. It will turbo-charge the diversification of the Hunter economy, ensuring it is resilient and sustainable for generations to come.

With the removal of contractual restrictions on the development of a container terminal, private investors are prepared to spend the full cost of the $1.8 billion container terminal project.

A study conducted by HoustonKemp in 2020, estimated the Multi-purpose Deepwater Terminal would: 

Learn more about the economic benefits of Newcastle’s container terminal.