May 17, 2020

Strike Could Cost Port Hedland $100M a Day in Iron Ore Export

Port Hedland
Teekay Corporation
Fortescue Metals Group
3 min
Strike Could Cost Port Hedland $100M a Day in Iron Ore Export
A strike with Tugboat workers could leave Port Hedland facing a potential loss of $100 million per day, drastically affecting the Australian economyPort...

A strike with Tugboat workers could leave Port Hedland facing a potential loss of $100 million per day, drastically affecting the Australian economy

Port Hedland is one of the most economical export ports in West Australia, bringing in around $100 million dollars each day for its iron ore exports, and within the next 30 days a potential strike may take effect, thus resulting in a huge loss for the Australian economy. The tugboat deckhands for Teekay Corporation, a North American shipping company that exports through Port Hedland, have been demanding better conditions and balloted to potentially go on strike for better treatment. Just last week, the ballot passed and now a strike may occur. 

BHB Billiton, Fortescue Metals group and Atlas Iron will be mostly affected if the strike occurs.

“If the Port operations are suspended, Australia's iron ore exports are significantly impacted. We estimate this will cost suppliers who ship out of Port Hedland around $100 million a day,'' a spokesman for BHB said. “Significant royalty and tax revenue will be lost to the West Australian and federal governments. Mining companies like BHP Billiton are not able to make up lost volume of this nature, and governments cannot recover these lost royalties and taxes.”

With the current export production without the threat of a strike, companies such as Fortescue Metals Group are struggling to stay on track to reach its full year iron ore export guidance and to miss out on a month of exporting would vastly impact their results. Fortescue Metals Group CEO, Nev Power, issued a statement saying the export of iron ore through Port Hedland was critical not only to the company, but the mining industry and the Australian economy as a whole.

“There is a need to reform the outdated industrial laws that allow a handful of workers to hold to ransom the jobs of thousands of people, threaten state revenue, jeopardize the sustainability of local communities and damage our international trade reputation," Power said. However, if Port Hedland does get closed for a short period of time, this will benefit some of the ports just south of Port Hedland, such as Rio Tinto due to the loss of access to Port Hedland.

The ballot results reveal that the MUA deckhands have the option of whether or not they strike but it doesn’t seem likely that they will pass up this opportunity. This April, exports have been reported to be 33% higher than last April which is why the MUA is seeking improved treatment of the workers. The Deckhands want better pay and to be eligible to earn leave. Will Tracey from the Maritime Union speaks for the workers when he says, “we are pursuing a claim of four weeks’ leave a year and we think it is very reasonable, given our members work 12 hours a day for 28 days straight in very tough conditions.” Tracy also expresses that promises have been made to the workers that never happened. "We've had a number of meetings but when the company continues to slide backwards on what we thought was a previously agreed position, workers have no other option but to go down that path," Tracy says.

BHP is working with the union to try to make an agreement of some sort within the constraints of the Fair Work Act.

“Given the current wages and conditions, we think it would be irresponsible for the MUA to take industrial action that would put a stop to one of Australia's most critical national exports,'' said the spokeswoman for BHP.

The MUA is still attempting to negotiate the demands of the workers but the ballot is only valid for 30 days so if they do decide to move forward with the strike, it will happen by early June.  Under the terms of the ballot, the strike is permitted to last anywhere from 24 hours to one full week.

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Jun 2, 2021

Ericsson Private 5G to transform secure on-site connectivity

Smart Mining
3 min
Ericsson Private 5G is a next-gen private cellular 4G & 5G network tailored to drive Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation of industries like mining

Ericsson has launched Ericsson Private 5G. It offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting manufacturing, mining and process industries, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.



Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).

It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.


Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.

Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.


Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.

Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, commented: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.

Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT added: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”


Enterprise Networks

Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, noted: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market.  The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”

Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, revealed: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets - in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”

Ericsson recently joined a three-year initiative to develop autonomous, carbon-neutral mining processes supported by 5G connectivity. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the $16mn Next-Generation Carbon-Neutral Pilots for Smart Intelligent Mining Systems (NEXGEN SIMS) project is being coordinated by Swedish mining and infrastructure equipment manufacturer, Epiroc, in cooperation with a range of industry-diverse partners, including: Ericsson, K+S, Boliden, Agnico Eagle Finland, KGHM Polska and Luleå University of Technology.

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