The latest member of the SMART Advisory Council has a strong interest in improving the transport and connectivity between the Illawarra and Sydney.

Marika Calfas has more than 16 years’ experience in the port sector across a broad range of portfolio areas, and was appointed CEO of NSW Ports in December 2015.

‘Clearly, it’s important for the city of Sydney that there are efficient connections between the port and its marketplace,’ she said.

‘Part of the attraction of Port Kembla is that it is so close to Australia’s largest market. It’s there to service Sydney, as well as the regions.’

Ms Calfas trained in environmental engineering and is part of an expert panel appointed by the Federal Government to look at supply chain priorities for freight across the nation.

She sees her skills as a natural fit with the SMART Infrastructure Facility.

‘From our perspective, we can contribute to the research agenda and identify some of the key challenges and priorities for the port,’ she said.

‘If SMART can assist the port to better service the needs of the economy into the future, then that’s a win-win

‘It’s good for us because it helps us become more efficient, and it’s good for SMART because it gives the facility an opportunity to apply research capabilities to real-world problems and processes.’

She says both the university and the port are key drivers of the Illawarra economy and so she welcomes the chance for both organisations to work together.