INADEQUATE storage facilities at the Port of Yamba are preventing the Clarence Valley from becoming a viable trading hub according to shipping agents and union representatives.
Yesterday, director of Lord Howe Shipping Services Pty Ltd, Harry Peacock, said companies like his and Yamba Shipping were forced to deal with relatively small cargo loads because of the size of the storage shed at the Goodwood Island port.
He said the shed, which can hold about 300 cubic metres of bulk cargo, placed constraints on how much local shipping agents could handle.
With timber trade between New Zealand and Australia providing a reliable and lucrative market, Mr Peacock is hoping the Carr Government will grant approval to expand the port.
But Mr Peacock is not looking for a handout to improve the margins of his business or his competitors.
If approval is gained, Mr Peacock said his business would look at the best way to pay for the work, be it through private funding, gov- ernment grants or a mixture of both.
It's a direction enthusiastically supported by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
Secretary of the Goodwood Island branch of the MUA, Geoff Hage, said storage improvements at the Port would allow increased two-way trade and open a 'Pandora's box' of economic windfalls for the Clarence .
A spokeswoman for Ports Minister Michael Costa said she would come back with a detailed response on the approval situation on Monday.