The last 40 years have seen great changes to the Port, with its transformation from a river port to a world-class deep-water facility. Forming the Port of Brisbane precinct in the mid 1970’s , as well as developing Fisherman Islands as the future hub of port activities, were amongst the most inspirational and pivotal engineering decisions of the post-war era.
Brisbane’s first exports were shipments of timber from local pine and cedar forests during the early days of European settlement. The logs were rafted down the river and across Moreton Bay to Dunwich (North Stradbroke Island), where sailing ships would load the cargo and head for Sydney.
1850 to 1885
Brisbane emerged as the main commercial centre in the colony. Water transport was dominant during this time, with ships carrying exports of coal and rural products, and imports of manufactured goods between Brisbane and Ipswich.
Frozen beef trade was introduced in Brisbane creating considerable employment and prosperity in the port. Later that decade a new wave of development began, dominated by the processing of sugar, meat, oil and mining output.
1960 to 1970
Two oil refineries were built at the mouth of the Brisbane River to store and refine oil discovered at the Moonie oil fields.
The first container terminal was built at the Port of Brisbane – by private enterprise in the Hamilton Reach of the Brisbane River – following changes in cargo handling technology.
The Port of Brisbane Authority Act 1976 took effect and the Authority was awarded its first contract for a port project on 7 April 1977. The project involved building a five-kilometre causeway, two road bridges, and a rail bridge to link the islands to the mainland at Lytton.
The Columbus Queensland was the first ship to use the new No1 container terminal at Fisherman Islands on 7 August.
The Port of Brisbane Authority was renamed Port of Brisbane Corporation on 1 July. The Port of Brisbane Authority Act 1976 was replaced by the Government Owned Corporations Act 1993 on 1 July.
Patrick Container Terminals introduced automated straddle carriers at berths 7, 8 and 9.
On 1 July 2010 the Queensland Government transferred all operating rights associated with the Port of Brisbane to a new operating company - the Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL).
Brisbane becomes the first port in Australia where all stevedores use automated container handling equipment following the official opening of the Hutchison Port Holdings-operated Brisbane Container Terminal at berths 11 and 12.
Construction commences on the $110 million Port Drive Upgrade project – the largest road construction project undertaken by PBPL. Due for completion in mid-2018, it will make port roads safer and more efficient for all users.
PBPL receives approval to deliver the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal – the first dedicated cruise facility in south-east Queensland able to accommodate mega cruise ships.