Circumnavigating Australia — The “Port” in Port Hedland

Ore shipment moving out toward China

As I note on Monday, the city of Port Hedland owes its existence to a natural deep anchorage harbor and its close proximity to iron mines in the Pilbara region of Australia. Today we’re going to look at the actual Port of Port Hedland, which is the busiest commercial port in all of Australia. Of course, any busy port requires control, and here is a view of the new Port of Port Hedland Control Tower:

Port Ship Control Tower

Working hand-in-hand with the controllers in the tower would of course be the harbor pilots:

Harbor Pilot boats

Below is the facility that transfers raw iron ore from truck and trains onto the ships. You can see red ore dust coating the entire facility.

Rusty iron ore

As for truck movement in Australia, below I have an image depicting two of Australia’s infamous Road Trains. The road train in the foreground is a massive quad-train:

Australia’s famous “Road Trains” moving ore

It’s easy to tell if a freighter is awaiting loading, or if it’s full and ready to depart. Just glance at the waterline (the demarcation between red and black seen below) and see how high the ship rides:

An empty Iron Phoenix awaits loading

If a ship is really empty, you’ll even see the rudder protruding above the surface:

Another empty freighter riding high

One final image from this working port. Here’s a tugboat assisting a large freighter as it exits the harbor for open seas:

Tugging away!


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