Wyndham Port is the only deep-water port between Broome and Darwin. Exports include live cattle, nickel, produce from the Ord River irrigation area. Imports include diesel, ammonium nitrate for the mining industry Australia wide and general cargo. The opening of a major nickel mine north of Halls Creek in early 2004 provides up to 100,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate exported to China every year. The export of sugar has ceased with the demise of the Ord sugar industry in 2007. A joint commitment from the State and Commonwealth Governments to facilitate a genuine expansion of the Ord River Irrigation Area will most likely see a return of broadacre crop exports through the Port.
Approximately 10% of Australia’s live cattle exports go through Wyndham Port. The cattle are sourced from the many cattle stations in the East Kimberley and are exported mainly to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines with some shipments to the Persian Gulf. Planned improvements to the cattle yards are expected to result in a significant increase in the number of cattle exported through the Port, which is the most geographically favoured of the three cattle exporting ports in the North West of Australia.
Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels over 500 tonnes entering Wyndham Port limits. For larger vessels, the pilot boards the ship at Lacrosse Island, which is 45 nautical miles north of the jetty. This makes Wyndham one of the longest pilotages in Australia. Wyndham has a maximum tidal range of 8.2m and tidal streams run at up to 7 knots through the narrower sections of the Cambridge Gulf passage.